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Berkshire County Man Dies From COVID-19

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The novel coronavirus has claimed its first Berkshire County victim, according to the Department of Public Health. 
 
The number of those who have died in the state now stands at five, including the man from Berkshire County who was reportedly in his 70s. 
 
The first death reported as a result of COVID-19 was on Friday, a man in his 80s from Suffolk County, and on Saturday, a woman in her 50s from Middlesex County.
 
DPH reported on Sunday that three more people died: the Berkshire County man, a man in his 70s from Hampden County and a man in his 90s from Suffolk County. 
 
All three had been hospitalized. 
 
"The Berkshire County man was reported to have an underlying health condition, but all three men were in an age group that is more likely to experience severe disease from COVID-19 regardless of prior health status," the state Department of Public Health said in a press release on Sunday afternoon.
 
As of 4 p.m. on Sunday, there were 23 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Berkshire County. The first case confirmed in Western Massachusetts was a Clarksburg man who had been hospitalized at Berkshire Medical Center for nearly a week before a positive test came back. 
 
Some 646 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Massachusetts at this point, with the largest number —199 — in Middlesex County, followed by Suffolk with 126. 
 
The genders of those infected is about even, with 308 women and 338 men. Nearly two-thirds are between 30 and 60 years of age.  
 
The DPH says COVID-19 activity is increasing in the state. 
 
"At this time, if people are only mildly symptomatic, they should speak to their health-care provider about whether they need to be assessed in person," according to the press release. "If not, they should stay at home while they are sick. Asymptomatic family members should practice social distancing and immediately self-isolate if they develop symptoms."

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Governor Raises Possibility of Testing, Field Hospital in Western Mass

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Conversations are under way on the possibility of setting up a testing facility in Western Massachusetts for public safety personnel and for an expansion of bed capacity.
 
Standing outside the new drive-through testing site at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker stressed the need for more testing and tracing capacity for the novel coronavirus.
 
"Testing capacity in the commonwealth is a major part of our multipronged approach, pushing back against the spread of the virus," he said. "Testing ... helps us determine, not only who's infected but where particularly around the commonwealth, we may have hot spots that we need to focus on."
 
The governor on Friday announced a collaboration with Partners in Health to expand contract tracing throughout the state to pinpoint hot spots, advise those who may have been infected and support people in isolation. 
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