NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases but not enough to implement drastic actions being initiated by Pittsfield.
"We're looking at the uptick here, which is modest comparatively, but we want to just really keep the keep our eyes open on all of this," said Mayor Thomas Bernard on Thursday. "We're going to stay with the operations as they stand. Our numbers are low enough."
Pittsfield, the county's largest community, has moved all schools to remote and suspended table service at restaurants. The Health Department has issued orders that all venues return to Step 1 of the state's Phase 3 reopening, which means reduced capacity for indoor and outdoor gatherings.
North Adams has remained in the lowest category with eight new cases in the past two weeks and six in the to weeks prior to that for a total of 75 to date. In contrast, the county logged 159 new cases in the past two weeks, the bulk of those in Pittsfield.
"The businesses are doing, by and large, a very good job with with compliance," Bernard said, adding officials have been "hypervigilant" for six months and were now the next level, whatever that would be called. "I think part of the problem with what happened in Pittsfield was these parties that happened."
Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer has said a large part of the outbreaks have been traced back to recent parties, including two at local restaurants. A staff member at Reid Middle School as well as a student at Pittsfield High School tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
North Adams had a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Drury High School this week and moved all Grade 7 and 8 students to remote learing until Thursday, Nov. 19. Hoosac Valley Regional School District also reported a case but it did not affect the school. Adams and Cheshire have both had fewer than five cases in the last two weeks.
Bernard said the North County COVID-19 operations center, made up of local officials and public health personnel, had a confrence call on Thursday morning. He said one of the things they are nervous about is that if people can't dine in in Pittsfield they may head north.
"I don't want to be unwelcoming or inhospitable, I don't want to put even more burden on our restaurants than already exists for so many of them," he said. "But at the same time, I really hope that the support they see is primarily from people right here in our community."
The mayor had expressed his concern at Tuesday's City Council meeting over rising cases in the county and gatherings at the city's outdoor venues.
"One area of particular concern for me and I know it's a concern for for several members of the council and members of the community, especially this past weekend with the unseasonably nice weather with the skate park. We saw large crowds and limited compliance," he said. "I saw it for myself, the Police Department made several visits. But with our young people, the focus really is especially on encouragement rather than draconian enforcement."
He made a "pitch for personal responsibility" and asked everyone to continue wearing masks and social distancing to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to email@example.com.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
There's a winter weather advisory in effect overnight Friday in the Berkshires and a chance of up to 5 inches of snow.
The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., issued the advisory effective from midnight to 10 a.m. on Saturday with warnings of slippery roads in the morning.
The snowfall could reach up to an inch an hour for a brief period in the morning and will be accompanied by winds up to 40 mph. There's also a chance of sleet and freezing rain in the mix.
Temperatures could reach a high of 40 in the Hudson River valley on Saturday and Sunday will be windy, with some gusts possibly reaching 35-45 mph across eastern New York and the Berkshires. High temperatures Sunday ranging from the mid-20s/lower 30s for higher terrain, to the mid 30s to around 40 for valley areas. Lows Sunday night in the teens and 20s. Monday will be similar.