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Interim Director of Public Health Andrew Cambi updates the City Council on pandemic numbers on Tuesday night.

Pittsfield 'Not Where We Want to Be' With COVID Cases

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Interim Director of Public Health Andrew Cambi told the City Council on Tuesday that Pittsfield is "holding steady" with COVID-19 cases and "not where we want to be."

He reported a COVID-19 death in the city over the weekend. The age and vaccination status of the person was not identified.

"Unfortunately, we had a death over the weekend," Cambi said. "very unfortunate, condolences to the family and friends to that individual."

To date, there have been 77 deaths in the city.

The community is currently in the yellow incidence rate for having 10 or more cases per 100,000 people and is at a 2.4 percent positivity rate with around 75 estimated actively contagious cases.  

Around July 20, the city began to see a rise in cases and started to plateau in early August.

In response to the rise in cases, the city has been increasing contact tracing efforts and urges residents to cooperate if they are contacted by a Berkshire Health Systems staff about possible exposure.

"I urge the community to continue to work with our contact tracing team by answering the phone calls by giving them a call back," Cambi explained.

"And understand that our contact tracing team is there to work with them and assist with any questions that they might have, and hopefully we can collaborate together with our residents to get the information to everybody."

He said the only upward trend that he likes to see is vaccinations. The city is at a 73 percent vaccination rate for people who have received their first shot and 64 percent for fully vaccinated.

Countywide, around 80 percent of eligible individuals have received their first shot and around 70 percent are fully vaccinated.

Early this month, former Director of Public Health Gina Armstrong announced her resignation effective Sept. 10. She cited a need for more balance in her life and to spend more time with her family.

The Board of Health unanimously appointed Cambi, the former senior sanitarian, as interim director of public health and a search for a permanent replacement for Armstrong is being led by Director of Human Resources Michael Taylor.

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Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership Discusses Priorities for Forest Center

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The executive committee of the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership on Thursday encouraged collaborators working on ideas for a forest center not to reinvent the wheel.
A pair of students in Williams College's Environmental Planning and Design program gave a presentation to the board about a survey they plan to assess priorities for the center, "an ambitious, somewhat nebulous concept right now but ... part of the enabling legislation establishing the partnership," according to the partnership's Chair Hank Art.
That legislation empowered a collaboration of 19 towns and cities in Berkshire and Franklin Counties to increase natural resource-based economic development and promote sustainable forestry practices in the region.
Sabrine Brismeur and Abby Matheny of Williams are working with the partnership to develop early concepts of what a permanent home for the MTWP might include and where it might be located.
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