BOSTON — The number of confirmed COVID-19 in the state crossed the 100,000 mark and Berkshire County's jumped by 23 after several static days.
The number of deaths is also expected to rise with changes in the reporting of confirmed and probable cases of the novel coronavirus, according to the Department of Public Health.
In a statement at the top of the daily COVID-19 dashboard, the DPH says this change is in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to include probable cases in collection efforts.
"This change will increase the number of cases and deaths reported in Massachusetts. Today's newly reported totals are a
result of a retrospective review of probable cases and deaths dating back to March 1, 2020," says DPH.
The number of deaths has been steadily decreasing over the past couple weeks but it jumped to 189 on Monday, with 48 of those newly reported deaths and 141 probable cases. It is not clear if the 141 probably deaths are the only ones being added or if more review is being done.
The "probable" is based on patients who had positive antibody test, which looks for signs that one of two types of antibodies are in the blood. Positive results give an idea of when the individual may have contracted the disease. A second criteria is whether the individual had generally recognized symptoms of COVID-19 and was known to have been exposed to a positive case.
Probable cases also include individuals whose death certificate listed COVID-19 as a cause of death but who were not tested. COVID-19 is known to affect the body in different ways, with respiratory distress among the most common symptoms, particularly pneumonia.
Most nonessential establishments have been closed since mid-March to prevent spread of COVID-19 and only a number of limited child-care facilities serving essential workers were allowed to stay open.
"We will continue to put out more details and guidances as this reopening process continues, and will carefully monitor the data between today, June 1, and June 6," said the governor. "And then on the 6th, based on that data, make an announcement and a decision in respect to Phase 2."
The commonwealth is looking at a four-phase reopening of the economy based on public health data and mandatory safety measures. Some outdoor activities, such as golf, and personal service fields like barbers and hairdressers have already opened. Last week, the reopening advisory committee released criteria for hotels and for restaurants to allow limited dining. Hotels have only been open for essential workers and restaurants have switched to takeout.
"I do want to say with respect to summer camps, child care, the amazing amount of work, the lieutenant governor [Karyn Polito], [Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders], [Secretary of Education Jam, and so many others in the field, put into putting together a very comprehensive and we believe effective and implementable proposal with respect to how to open up child care and how to support summer camps," Baker said. "I think we all know how important both of those operations and enterprises are to families here in the commonwealth."
The state's COVID-19 command center also submitted its testing proposal to the federal government for $374 million in funding for expanded access.
"The commonwealth plans to increase lab testing capacity to 45,000 tests a day by the end of July," the governor said. "Ensure on-demand access to testing for all symptomatic individuals, their close contacts and high-risk populations. Prepare a testing infrastructure for potential second surge in the fall, and continue to operate the best-in-class contact tracing program."
Testing has currently ranged from about 7,000 a day to 12,000 a day. About 600,000 tests have been done to date and about 45,680 antibody tests.
"We've also said for a while now that as we ramp up our tracing program, you have to ramp up your testing program," Baker said. As the economy reopens, people begin to interact more, which in turn can spread the disease. "You're going to want to test more, because you're going to want to collect that data."
The goal is to alert people as soon as possible that they may have been exposed so they can isolate instead of spreading the coronavirus. It will also mean more people will know if they have antibodies that are now being used on patients for treatment purposes.
"The contagious nature of the virus to begin with, the speed with which it spreads, the impact of doing something about the reproduction rate of the virus, which in my opinion is its greatest and most potent evil, you can't do that alone," the governor said. "You can only do that as a community and I think it's important for everybody to understand they have a stake in that community."
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North Adams School Committee Votes for Remote Learning
By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The School Committee on Tuesday rejected a hybrid school reopening model to vote 3-2 to go full remote.
The decision to start school with the remote option was apparently influenced by a letter the School Committee members received from the North Adams Teachers Association expressing concern over re-entering the schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Committee member Tara Jacobs said she was not comfortable potentially exposing staff to the novel coronavirus in motioning to go with the remote option to start and later transition to a hybrid model.
"There's no good scenario but the decision to open the school and have someone dying or having health conditions for the rest of their life ... ," she said, motioning to start the school year remotely.
Peter Oleskiewicz was nominated by Councilor Wayne Wilkinson and elected by unanimous decision. The owner of Desparedo's Mexican Restaurant was 103 votes short for a seat on the nine-member council last November.
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At a meeting in late July, Zachery Feury, project coordinator in the Office of Community Development, gave the commission a presentation on more refined plans for the city's application to the Shared Streets and Spaces grant program.
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The class of 2020's saying is "Time 2 Make History," something this class has certainly done already: the first Drury class go fully online for learning, to have a drive-by graduation, and to have two graduations.
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Instead of talking about the challenges the global pandemic has created for the class, the country, and the world, Harrington talked about some of the class's successes and thanked all those who helped along the way.
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