Berkshire Health Systems Releases New Visitation Policy

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PITTSFIELD, Mass — Berkshire Health Systems has changed its visitation policies as the number of COVID-19 cases in the community are rising. 
 
The changes are effective starting on Monday, Nov. 16, and include:
 
• All patients and visitors must be screened for COVID symptoms upon entering a BHS facility.
 
• No visitation for visitors experiencing symptoms of illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, chills, body      aches, loss of sense taste, or smell).
 
• Inpatient visitors/companions must sign in, show identification and be issued a visitor badge.
 
• Approved visitors must always wear a mask and perform hand hygiene before and after entering a patient's room.
 
• Birth partners, parents of children under 18, attorneys, PCAs, companions or designated support person of patients        with intellectual and/or physical disabilities are not considered visitors. They must be screened for symptoms and wear    a mask but may stay with the patient 24/7. They should have access to food and restrooms.
 
• No visitation for patients suspected of or testing positive for COVID - 19.
 
• Critical Care: One visitor at a time for 15 minutes between the hours of 4 pm to 7 pm (7 days a week).
 
• Emergency Department: One companion at a time.
 
• Medical/Surgical, Family Birthing, Rehab and Pediatric Units: One visitor at a time for 30 minutes each between the        hours of 2 pm to 7 pm (7 days a week).
 
• Behavioral Health Units: No visitation. Tele-visits can be arranged with provider approval.
 
• No visitors under the age of 18 except the child of a patient and the siblings of a patient.
 
• End-of-Life Circumstances: Number of visitors based on approval by the House Supervisor.
 
• Surgical Day/Endoscopy/Crane Center: A companion can accompany a patient to the department, leave and return to    pick them up and receive post-procedural teaching.
 
• Ambulatory or outpatient services, one companion/designated support person may accompany the patient to an in-        person provider, therapy, or diagnostic test visit.
 
• Patient Experience Department and Nursing can help with an alternate electronic means of communication for                individuals who are unable to visit in person.
 
The visitation guidelines will be updated as needed, depending on the current status of COVID-19 transmission in the community.

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District Attorney Launches 'High-Risk' Team to Address Domestic Violence

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Cathy Felix talks about her daughter, Julie Shade, a victim of domestic violence who was murdered by her husband. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire District Attorney's Office has launched a new effort to address domestic and sexual abuse in the region.
 
District Attorney Andrea Harrington, joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, on Thursday introduced a Domestic Violence High Risk Team designed to bring multiple disciplines together to strengthen social service and law enforcement responses to domestic violence. The DA's office has also created a new position of a domestic violence coordinator who will work with the team and develop intervention plans.
 
The initiative continues a campaign promise Harrington made to prioritize domestic violence and develop a team of made up of representatives across several disciplines to create a coordinated response. 
 
"We are using our power to dismantle a culture of violence against women and girls," she said. "Being the first female district attorney [in Berkshire County], being the first anything, being a woman in power in particular, and we have a lot of powerful women standing here behind me today, that in and of its self is meaningless unless we use that power to bring equity and human rights and justice to our community."
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