Several area towns now COVID-19 red zones; deaths at Hadley nursing home

  • In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, a person is inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine in Pompano Beach, Florida. AP PHOTO/WILFREDO LEE

Staff Writer
Published: 1/8/2021 2:59:14 PM
Modified: 1/8/2021 2:59:00 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Several area communities are now COVID-19 hotspots in the latest weekly report issued by the state Department of Public Health.

Though Hampshire County’s two largest communities, Northampton and Amherst, are in the yellow, or caution zone, in part because their positivity rates are below 5%, Easthampton, South Hadley, Hadley, Belchertown, and Southampton are all labeled red, along with Holyoke, according to the dashboard.

For the smaller communities, the status comes by having more than 25 new COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks, and for the larger towns it is due to having more than 10 cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate exceeding 5%.

Almost all of the smaller towns in Hampshire County and southern Franklin County are in the gray zone, meaning they have 10 or fewer active cases, while Deerfield, Sunderland and Whately are all green, meaning they have 15 or fewer active cases.

Hampshire County cities and towns with more than 100 total positives over the past two weeks include South Hadley with 135, Amherst with 130, Northampton with 126, Belchertown with 119, and Easthampton with 108.

Holyoke has 470 positive cases, for a daily case rate of 66.6 per 100,000 residents, and a 7.5% positivity rate.

Southampton, where there are 64 positive cases, had both the county’s highest daily incident rate, at 70 per 100,000 residents,  and the highest positivity rate, at 10%.

The statistics released comes as the Elaine Center at Hadley nursing home is seeing an uptick in fatalities related to COVID-19, with the number of deaths attributed to the coronavirus rising from eight to 14 in the latest dashboard. 

The Hadley Select Board was apprised of this in a report received from Board of Health member Susan Mosler on Wednesday.

“There have been many deaths (there) over the last couple of weeks,” Mosler said. 

Mosler said state health officials and the National Guard have been at the North Maple Street site to provide assistance, as is common when there is an outbreak, but she also credits staff and administrators for their diligence in protecting residents.

“From what I can see they're doing everything right and the best that they can,” Mosler said.

Hadley has seen 45 new cases over the last two weeks, and Mosler said that employees from at least 18 Hadley businesses have also had COVID-19 positive diagnoses during that time.

Elaine Center’s total deaths attributed to COVID-19 remains less than most of its counterparts during the course of the pandemic.

Vero Health and Rehabilitation Center in South Hadley has seen 30 deaths; Center for Extended Care in Amherst, 24; CareOne in Northampton, 22; CareOne in Holyoke, 20; Holyoke Healthcare Center,16; and Highview of Northampton, 14.

Lathrop Home and River Valley Rest Home, both in Northampton, where both had one to 10 cases, have not had any deaths. Linda Manor Extended Care Facility in Leeds has had one to four deaths, and Rockridge at Laurel Park has had no cases and no deaths.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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