Sept. 24: The state reported 15 deaths and 455 new cases statewide. Berkshire County's count dropped by one. The number of hospitalizations remain high at 375, with 29 people intubated. There are no patients at BMC. Both Williams College and MCLA remain at three cases each.
Sept. 23: Gov. Baker announced Phase III modifications for restaurants starting Monday, Sept. 28. Eateries will be able to seat parties of up to 10 and restaurant bar seating will be permitted with social distancing protections in place. "No standing around the bar," Baker admonished at press conference at which the changes were announced.
Free COVID-19 testing was also extended to Oct. 31 in 18 high priority that includes Holyoke and Springfield.
The number of deaths statewide was reported at 17 and the number of new cases 532. Statewide hospitalizations remain in the mid-300s but there are no patients in Berkshire County.
Two communities — Great Barrington and Williamstown — have shifted to yellow on the state's daily incidence rate for having between four and eight positive cases. Williamstown had six positives (presumably from the outbreak at Pine Cobble School) over the past two weeks and Great Barrington, eight.
Sept. 22: The number of deaths related to COVID-19 passed the 200,000 mark nationwide. The toll in Massachusetts was 11, for a total of 9,118 to date. There were two more positive cases reported in Berkshire County but no hospitalizations. The CDC released its guidance for Halloween and towns are expected to make decisions regarding the holiday in the next few weeks.
Sept. 21: Berkshire County has added one new case and the state, 244. There were seven reported deaths. The seven-day average remains at 0.8.
Sept. 20: The number of cases in Berkshire County has not changed and BMC no longer has a patient. The state reported 15 new deaths for a total to date of 9,100.
Sept. 19: The state report has reduced the total number of Berkshire County cases by one, bringing it down to 701. There is one patient at BMC and the number of hospitalizations statewide has increased to that of late August (more than 360) after trending downward for several weeks. The seven-day average of positive cases remains at 0.8 percent but 569 new cases were recorded out of more than 21,000 tests.
Sept. 18: The number of cases in Berkshire County jumped by 10 on Friday, the largest spike since a one-day increase of 23 on June 1. One student at Berkshire Community College reportedly tested positive on Wednesday, Sept. 16. There has been one more death: the total number increased to 49 on Thursday even though no single death was reported. The number on Friday was still 49. The number of hospitalizations has also crept up with the three-day average at 356 and five hospitals using surge capacity. There are 338 patients with 62 in ICU and 25 who are intubated. There are no patients in Berkshire County.
Sept. 17: The number of total individuals tested statewide passed 2 million on Wednesday and the number of deaths totaled 9,051. The seven-day average remained below 1 percent but the number of new cases was 419. Gov. Baker on Thursday urged citizens to get a flu shot as a way to support health-care workers.
Sept. 16: The county has reported its second death in four days after weeks of registering no fatalities from the novel coronavirus. The death toll is now 48 and the number of total cases 690 with the addition of three new cases. There have been no new cases at the local colleges and The number of deaths statewide is reported at 9,036. In good news, all of Berkshire County is now in the gray; both the cities had been green and Williamstown had been in the yellow last week.
Sept. 15: The number of total COVID-19 cases in Berkshire County continue to increase by two or three a day and currently stands at 687. This is not the number of active cases but rather the number of positives since March. There are no hospitalizations in Berkshire County. Berkshire Healthcare reports two employees testing positive as of Sept. 13 but no residents. The number of deaths statewide is reported as six.
Sept. 14: The state reported nine new deaths. More than 3 million tests have been completed and the number of positives since March is 123,139. The seven-day average of positives tests remains under 1 percent. There were no changes in the colleges' positive numbers but Pine Cobble School opted to return to remote for two weeks after a teacher tested positive.
Sept. 13: The county reported its first death from COVID since July 30, bringing the total to date to 47. The state's number of deaths passed 9,000, with 14 reported deaths, bringing its total 9,001. The total number of deaths nationwide is 194,021.
Phase 3, Step One of state reopening began on July 6.
Please assume that your local governmental offices, libraries and COAs are closed or operating under limited conditions. Use your town's official website for business or call to find out what precautions have been put in place. Always call ahead to ensure your destination is open.
July 21: Gov. Charlie Baker extended the pause on evictions and foreclosures for 60 days, until Oct. 17, 2020, through the authority granted to the governor by Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020, An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency, which was signed into law on April 20, 2020.
• The Pittsfield RMV is appointment only for only critical services that cannot be done online or over the phone. Check the website for licenses and certificates that have been extended.
• Restaurants are open to outside dining and limited in-door dining; many are still offering takeout options. Bars are closed to on-premise consumption.
• Most performances, clubs, fundraisers still cannot be held.
• Indoor activities cannot exceed 25 people in a single enclosed, indoor space. This includes worship, movie theaters, museums and other cultural institutions.
• Fitness centers, health clubs, indoor recreational activities and personal services such as nail salons, barbers and hairdressers can open if abiding by masking, sanitation, social distancing and limited access.
• Most state programs are canceled and non-essential executive branch employees have been ordered to stay home.
• Banks are currently open for drive-up, online banking, ATMs; some lobbies began opening on July 6. Check with your bank.
• All groceries, pharmacies, department, convenience and other retail stores are open; masking and social distancing required.
• Child-care centers open only for essential personnel. Visitation at nursing homes and medical facilities have been broadened although anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should avoid entering care facilities.
• Other services and organizations are mainly open for phone consultation and limited person-to-person contact.
What you can do
Take a walk or a bicycle ride. Spring clean. Call friends or Facetime. Get your garden ready. Check on folks who may need help. Watch a movie. Order from your favorite restaurants. Take a deep breath. Wash your hands.
Northern Berkshire COVID-19 Operations Center
Residents can call with questions at 413-662-3614, answered between 8 and 5 weekdays and voicemail for after hours, or use firstname.lastname@example.org.
Berkshire Medical Center
Toll-free hotline for questions staffed seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m: 1-855-BMC-LINK or 1-855-262-5465.
Tyer: City Preparing for Phase 2 Openings Tyer said the city is doing its part to prepare businesses that will be allowed to open in this next phase with limitations and specifications. She said hotels, retail stores, various schools, some...
Local governments will be taking up the question of Halloween activities in the coming weeks but it looks like traditional trick-or-treating is out this year. And don't think that plastic costume mask is a substitute for the cloth one you're wearing now.
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Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders visited a CVS pharmacy to receive their flu shots and encourage their fellow Bay Staters to follow suit.
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The small schools of Gabriel Abbott Memorial in Florida, Emma Miller in Savoy and Rowe Elementary will open students back in the classroom on Sept. 8; Clarksburg Elementary will begin the school year on Sept. 14 with a hybrid model.
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State public health officials on Wednesday announced that influenza immunization will be required for all children 6 months of age or older who are attending child care, preschool, kindergarten, K-12, and colleges and universities.
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Putnam said that, depending in part on the levels of COVID-19 infection in the area, the district will, at some point, offer families the option of keeping their child or children home for remote learning or sending the children to school for part of the week in a hybrid model.
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Citing what he termed a “new phase” in the commonwealth’s battle against COVID-19, Gov. Charlie Baker Friday announced a new set of initiatives designed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. click for more
The Mount Greylock Regional School District has room to welcome all its students back to its two elementary schools with six feet between desks, the district's interim superintendent said on Thursday. click for more
A reported outbreak of COVID-19 at Springfield's Baystate Health coincided Monday with the commonwealth's plans to provide free testing to asymptomatic residents in two Western Massachusetts communities. click for more
Williams College President Maud Mandel said Wednesday that she is "optimistic" that students returning to campus in the fall will follow the protocols in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but she realizes that there will be lapses.
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People in Western Massachusetts, and the Berkshires in particular, frequently complain the region is being ignored by a state government headquartered at the other end of the commonwealth. click for more
Gov. Charlie Baker Wednesday said he does not think it “makes sense” for a one-size-fits-all approach to reopening the nation’s public schools but stopped short of directly criticizing a presidential tweet pressuring states to open the schoolhouse doors in the middle of a global pandemic. click for more
Fitness centers, movie theaters, museums and other enclosed venues will be able to reopen on Monday with restrictions and the number of people allowed in an indoor gathering is now raised to 25. click for more
Students will be allowed to choose to take the year off with no penalty, and the college has lowered the number of courses required in the 2020-21 fall and spring semesters with no impact on a student's progress toward graduation. click for more
The past few weeks have seen on-site retail sales return and patio seating reopen, followed by a socially distanced form of inside dining for restaurants.
Wednesday night the board, with guidance from Code Enforcement Officer Mark Blaisdell, took the necessary steps to reopen parks and open... click for more
An independent report on the outbreak COVID-19 at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke that cost the lives of 76 veterans is "gut wrenching" to read and "utterly shameful," said Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday. click for more
State officials Friday continued to praise Massachusetts for taking the steps that have lowered the rate of positive tests for COVID-19 and introduced new vehicles to advance the commonwealth’s testing program.
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Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday morning said the second step in Phase 2 of Reopening Massachusetts would commence on June 22, allowing for some inside dining, close contact person services, fitting rooms by appointment and increasing the occupancy percentage of offices.
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The testing is available through a blood test and only with a physician order. Interested residents can ask their primary care physician to submit an order to the BHS Laboratory for a test to be drawn at a BHS blood draw station. The result will then be provided to the physician, who will relay the... click for more
Tyer said the city is doing its part to prepare businesses that will be allowed to open in this next phase with limitations and specifications. She said hotels, retail stores, various schools, some personnel services, funeral homes, child care, and restaurants among others will be able to open to... click for more
Commissioner of Early Education and Care Samantha Aigner-Treworgy and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders joined Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday at his daily press availability.
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iBerkshiresTV host Jeff Snoonian speaks with Cheshire Town Administrator Edmund St. John IV and Health Inspector Christopher "CJ" Garner about how the town is coping with novel coronavirus pandemic.
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"SVMC is always focused on safety and infection prevention," said Dr. Trey Dobson, SVMC's chief medical officer. “That has given us a good head start in making our facilities safe for patients returning to seek care." click for more