Local schools make changes to outside games as EEE risk level remains high

Hampden County

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The second human case of EEE in Hampden County has been identified as a woman in her 70s. 

Now, in many of these communities, once it’s dark out, don’t expect to see any students out on the fields. West Springfield Friday moved their game against Chicopee Comp up to 4 p.m. to avoid playing at dusk. Players from West Springfield and Chicopee Comp had their game pushed up, avoiding peak mosquito hours. 

“I live down the street from here, and I can hear the games from my house so it’s nothing to come down here and watch the people play,” said Matthew George of West Springfield. “I usually spray up my legs and arms with off just to keep it safe. Cause, I’m worried about it too.” 

Three people in the state have died from EEE, including one person in Hampden County. West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt said he consulted with the mayors of Agawam and Westfield before deciding to end activities earlier. 

“They had reached out, and we kind of realized that we do need to take some precautions,” said Mayor Reichelt. 

For the time being, teams have to run out the clock, by around 6 p.m. But for the mosquitos carrying EEE, time is running out too. 

Mayor Reichelt added, “You think mosquitos are just here in the summer, but this nice weather is encouraging them to stick around for a while. Jean Galloway, who is my health director, she said we need a couple of good frosts. Once it freezes up, then we’ll be safe.” 

It might be getting chilly at night, but it’s not quite cold enough. It will need to get down below 32 degrees a few times before the mosquitos won’t be a problem. 

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