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COVID-19 Cases Increasing in Adams

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health shared its concern on Wednesday about increasing cases of COVID-19 in town.
Chairman David Rhoads gave the update at Wednesday's meeting and said there are now, once again, active cases for the first time in months.
"It is kind of unsettling because we were like three months without a case," he said. "We don't know if they are travel-related or what so it is kind of hard to know how to respond."
Just last month, the Board of Health reported that there were no known cases in Adams. 
According to the state's COVID-19 Community-Level Data Map, which reflects data of the Sept. 16 weekly report, Adams is still in the gray category. Gray represents communities with less than five reported cases. This is the lowest category on the map
According to the map, in the last 14 days, there have been five positive cases in Adams. The town's percent positivity rate is 1.18 percent, higher than the state's seven-day average of 0.9.
Board member Peter Hoyt said levels are reaching numbers seen in town around July 4.
"Hopefully it doesn't continue to trend that way, but it is kind of scary," Hoyt said. "It might be a holiday-related spike, and I hope it goes back down."
People were expected to travel more over the Labor Day holiday two weeks ago than in previous months of the novel coronavirus pandemic as restrictions were eased.
Rhoads felt people needed to be more vigilant and continue safe practices. 
"We just have to continue to promote safety, social distancing, mask-wearing and no large gatherings," Rhoads said.
Code Enforcement Officer Mark Mark Blaisdell also gave a COVID-19 update and said his department has continued to run fully through the pandemic.
"We kept our operations full time while other municipal departments did not," he said.
He said the department has helped restaurants adapt and open under new regulations. He said for most cases, those who wanted to open opened without incident.
"Each of those restaurants opened," he said. "We did have some that did not open, and they waited for further progression."
Blaisdell said his department also investigated occasional complaints at different establishments and have issued some orders.
He has also been in contact with the school district and is privy to its reopening plan. He said the state guidelines change often, but he has an open dialogue with the district.
"I did receive plans from all the schools ... but there have been numerous changes at the state level ... sometimes as much as twice a week," he said. "That would kill a lot of trees if they had to keep sending me updates."
The board thanked Blaisdell for his efforts throughout the pandemic.
"I want to thank Mark for his hard work over the past few months," Hoyt said. "I know he works his tail off and is doing a good job."
Before starting the meeting, the board held a moment of silence for Selectman James Bush who passed away Sept. 9..
"I just wanted to ask for a moment of silence in Jim Bush's memory," he said. "He will be missed."
Bush was the Board of Selectmen's liaison to the Board of Health.

Tags: board of health,   COVID-19,   

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Adams Residential Tax Rate Up 3 Percent

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen set a fiscal 2021 residential tax rate of $22.62 and a commercial tax rate of $26.89 per $1,000 valuation. Both figures are up 3 percent over last year.
The board members approved a 115 percent split that represents a 74 cent increase on the residential side and a 90 increase on the commercial side of the tax rate at Wednesday's tax classification hearing.
"Everybody has to pay taxes, and I think we do very well in this community making our elderly feel at home," Selectman Joseph Nowak said. "I think we do well for our children, and this is a matter of everybody pitching in."
Last year, the Selectmen approved the same 115 percent shift that created a residential tax rate of $21.88 and a commercial rate of $25.99, or 
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