County Gets More Walk-In Clinics, Pittsfield OKs Special Event Permits
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More walk-in vaccination clinics are scheduled this week and the city of Pittsfield has issued 37 special permits for now permitted special events and is seeing hope on the horizon for summer.
During Mayor Linda Tyer's bi-monthly COVID-19 update to the City Council, she reported that the Berkshire Vaccine Collaborative has implemented two new strategies to expand access for vaccinations: walk-in clinics and pop-up clinics.
At the county's first walk-in clinic at Berkshire Community College last week, 177 doses were administered in three hours. Another clinic was held on Monday at BCC and walk-in clinics will be held on Thursday in North County and on Saturday in South County.
Additionally, a pop-up clinic is scheduled for Thursday at the Christian Center in Pittsfield from 11 to 2 and the Berkshire Vaccine Collaborative continues to seek out other locations that will hold pop-up clinics.
"The Massachusetts Department of Public Health currently reports that 56 percent of Pittsfield residents have at least one vaccine dose, 40 percent of Pittsfield is fully vaccinated, so we are on track to hit the 50 percent fully vaccinated Mark by May 18," Tyer said.
With the help of Senior Sanitarian Andy Cambi and Special Events Coordinator Beck Manship, the city has issued 37 special event permits for the future warm weather. The special events vary in magnitude from Berkshire Theatre Group events to small memorial services, Tyer said, and every permit has to submit a safety plan that addresses capacity and mask enforcement.
In Tyer's last COVID-19 update at the end of April, she talked about the governor's reopening strategies announced earlier that day, which include a relaxed face coverings order for outdoor settings where social distance can be maintained, the permitting of parades and street festivals, and the food requirement with drink mandate for restaurants being lifted on dates ranging April 30 to Aug. 1.
Cambi has also been working with local businesses to address clarifications that need to be made regarding loosening state-issued guidelines. In the last two months, he has visited eight businesses to review their operations as well as providing daily telephone conversations and conducting on-site reviews of their layouts.
Tyer said Pittsfield has remained "stagnant" over the last two weeks and remains in the yellow category for risk of transmission. The city has also seen a pronounced drop in case trends over the last five days.
The city's case rate is now at 16.9 percent for 100,000 people — which is a drop of 29 percent in the last 14 days with 25 percent of the drop happening in the last five days — and the positivity rate is 2.59 percent.
"Our estimated active case count now is 25, went up in the second half of April but has consistently gone down since then, which demonstrates an overall downward trend since our last high peak on March 25," Tyer added. "Recent clusters have centered on a local business and transmission within households, the Health Department continues to do contact tracing and provide guidance for residents and employers on isolation and quarantine requirements."
Tyer did not disclose the name of the local business aforementioned.
Pittsfield has reached a "low point" with only two residents in Berkshire Medical Center for the virus and zero in intensive care.
In Biobot sewage testing conducted by Commissioner of Public Utilities Ricardo Morales, the UK variant has not been quantified in the last three samples.
"That's great news," Morales said. "Simply because the reason for not being able to quantify is the levels the limit of detection has not been reached, and what that means is we do not have enough concentration of the virus in the sewage to be able to infect quantified the variance."
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