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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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New Police Chief Takes Command in Adams

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Chief K. Scott Kelley takes the oath from Town Clerk Haley Meczywor.  Kelley is the town's third police chief in a year.
ADAMS, Mass. — New Police Chief K. Scott Kelley says he "already feels at home" and is looking forward to spending time getting to know his officers. 
"The thing that I'm looking forward to the most is actually spending time with my officers," he said on Tuesday. "I can't say it enough, and I mean every word of it. I have learned throughout my years that the only way to succeed in leadership is to make sure that everyone under you has input. These officers know what is needed, what is wanted, where we need to go, what our goal should be."
Kelley was sworn in on Tuesday morning in front of Town Hall, the town's third police chief in less than year. He particularly thanked his immediate predecessor Troy Bacon, along with Town Administrator Jay Green and Selectmen Chairwoman Christine Hoyt, for ensuring a seamless transition in leadership. 
Bacon had been leading the force since July in an interim capacity following the retirement of Chief Richard Tarsa, a 36-year member of the Adams force. He had initially indicated interest in taking on the post permanently but declined late last year for personal reasons and returned to Indiana. 
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