Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, 86 Newton residents have died with COVID-19 as of May 5, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said in a statement Wednesday night.
The number of deaths was an increase of 15 residents since April 28, when a total of 71 people had died with the coronavirus.
In a statement, Fuller said 94 percent of the people who died were age 80 or older. Wednesday was the sixth week in a row she had to report the deaths of residents, Fuller said, which she described as “a heavy, heavy toll.”
"We think of – and ache for – those mourning the loss of loved ones in Newton and beyond," Fuller said.
Fuller said 585 residents have tested positive with the disease, an increase of 29 people from the 556 who were reported with the virus April 28.
As with the state as a whole, there have been fewer cases of the coronavirus in Newton recently.
"We’re seeing this decrease here in Newton and statewide due to the ongoing community mitigation efforts – staying at home, physical distancing, face coverings, hand washing, etc. – we have been actively practicing," Fuller said. "We must continue to follow these practices, our statewide orders and health experts’ recommendations as the pandemic continues."
Fuller said preliminary reports show that the number of positive test results is also decreasing in Newton: 13 percent of tests returned on May 5 were positive. A week earlier, 18 percent were positive, and on April 22, 34 percent of test results were reported positive, she said.
She said the City Council unanimously approved her request for $750,000 in emergency COVID-19 funding Monday night.
The money allows the city to continue to respond quickly to COVID-19 related needs experienced by residents, businesses, and employees, Fuller said in the statement.
The money approved Monday will help provide food for vulnerable people, pay employees who work significant overtime hours, such as on contact tracing, and purchase supplies to protect first responders, she said.
The money supplements $250,000 already approved by the council and $200,000 in state grants to the Newton Department of Health and Human Services, she said.
John Hilliard can be reached at email@example.com.