Berkshire Health Systems Further Reduces Call Line Hours as Usage Falls

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Citing the continuing drop in the number of calls received on a daily basis, Berkshire Health Systems is further reducing the hours for its COVID-19 Nurse Triage Line. For the past month, the hours have been 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Effective Sunday, May 17, the hours will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week.

During the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Berkshires, the toll-free call line recorded, on average, between 200 and 300 calls per day. That number has dropped to an average of 100 calls per day, with very few calls after 4:30 p.m. 

The call line was developed during the very first days of the pandemic in the Berkshires as a way to provide immediate access to nurses who could field and answer questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, from symptoms to whether an individual should be tested, speak with their physician, or be transported to the Emergency Department. A physician staffs the telehealth component in the event that the caller's questions require a higher level of diagnostic discussion and recommendations.

"We are committed to staffing this important community resource throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to review the utilization to determine whether additional adjustments, whether to further reduce the hours or to revert to expanded hours is necessary, based on need," said Darlene Rodowicz, BHS executive vice president. "We also want to stress to the community that if they need care, our providers, from the Emergency Department to our physician practices, are open and ready to see anyone in need of care, whether in-person or by telehealth. While we battle COVID-19, we want to stress that those who need care for chronic or other conditions should continue to see or speak with their providers and we have taken extra precautions to ensure that all of our facilities are clean and safe."

Tags: BHS,   COVID-19,   

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Biz Briefs: SABIC Donating to Local United Way to Support COVID-19 Response Efforts

SABIC donation

SABIC, a global leader in diversified chemicals, is donating $25,000 to the Berkshire United Way to help serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from $1 million in monetary donations to food banks and community-based agencies in the communities where the company operates, SABIC, whose head office is based in Houston, also is donating approximately $500,000 of its products. SABIC products are used to manufacture personal protection equipment for healthcare workers and medical equipment such as ventilators, patient monitoring devices, face shields, respiratory therapy machines and diagnostic equipment.

The company, which operates the Polymer Processing Development Center in Pittsfield, Mass., also is donating face shields made with SABIC’s LEXAN polycarbonate sheet product to local police and fire departments. SABIC employees, too, are joining together to raise funds that will go to charitable organizations of their choice and the company is matching the employee contributions dollar-for-dollar.

SABIC currently operates 60 manufacturing and compounding plants in more than 50 countries worldwide.


Small business survey

The Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire has released a small business survey to assess the greatest needs of small businesses during this COVID-19 crisis. This Small Business Technical Assistance Needs Survey will help CDCSB focus professional technical assistance to businesses where they most need it for them to weather the devastating economic impact of the endemic. All businesses based in the southern Berkshires are encouraged to complete the survey by clicking here.

CDCSB is joining other western Massachusetts CDCs – Hilltown CDC, Franklin County CDC and Valley CDC (Northampton) – in seeking funding to provide free professional business assistance that can include legal and financial advice, strategic planning, access to capital, marketing, pivoting sales to a digital platform, or creating new product lines. This will significantly expand the capacity for small business assistance throughout western Mass., a central part of CDCSB’s economic development mission. 

The CDCSB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating job opportunities, promoting economic development, and building low-moderate income housing in the southern Berkshires. In collaboration with other local organizations, CDCSB has helped build over 60 affordable housing units, leveraged over $30 million in private and public funding for south Berkshire County and has a current development pipeline of 120 new affordable housing units.

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