Officials say Springfield, Massachusetts has achieved a positive milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of new confirmed cases over the last three days in Springfield was eight. It was the first weekend since early March where positive tests results that came back for a Friday-Saturday-Sunday period did not reach double-digits.
Mayor Domenic Sarno touted the very low number of new COVID-19 cases at his weekly briefing and vowed authorities would remain vigilant to prevent a spike in cases.
"We to keep following the script," said Sarno. "Keep doing what you are doing because it is working."
Since the pandemic arrived in Springfield last March there have been a total of 2,970 cases and 131 deaths.
Dr. Robert Roose, chief medical officer at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, said it is a significant accomplishment to get the number of new daily cases down to single digits and he believes it is possible to go even lower.
"Now is not the time to ease up but it is the time to step on the gas," said Roose. "The lower the numbers the more affective we can be in isolating any remaing infections and possibly work toward extinquishing this as soon as we can."
On the color-coded map produced weekly by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to show the prevalence of the virus in each city and town, Springfield is yellow, or at moderate risk. The latest data shows an infection rate of 4.5 per 100,000 people.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in western Massachusetts remain low. There were 17 patients Monday in the Baystate Health network of hospitals. It is roughly the same number as last week, according to Baystate president and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack.
Keroack said Baystate is using convalescent plasma to treat some people hospitalized with COVID-19. It was given emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration despite a mixed record of success so far in limited clinical trials.
" It is a very old fashioned approach," said Keroack. He said it was used to treat pneumonia until penacillan was discovered. "So, my expectation is that very soon we will have something a lot better than convalescent plasma and we will start using it."
The availability of testing for COVID-19 continues to increase in Springfield under a state program that makes tests available for asymptomatic people. 500 tests have been administered in Springfield since the program started a few weeks ago.