North Adams Advises Masking Indoors Regardless of Vaccine Status

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Local public health officials are advising that all residents wear face coverings indoors regardless of vaccination status because of the dramatic increase in COVID-19 transmission. 
The joint public health advisory was issued Monday by the North Adams Board of Health and the Office of the Mayor and is effective immediately.
"The recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the City of North Adams and other communities, including among vaccinated residents, coupled with concerns regarding new COVID-19 variants reminds us of the continuing need for caution in the face of the COVID-19 virus," the release states. "As of [Thursday, Dec. 2], transmission rates are increasing in Berkshire County and the City of North Adams has experienced an increase in cases locally in the past weeks, with further positivity rates anticipated following the Thanksgiving holiday."
North Adams registered a positivity rate of 73.2 per 100,000 people, and averaged nearly 10 new cases a day for the two weeks ending Nov. 27. The city's 14-day average positivity rate on Thursday (when the weekly numbers are posted by the state) was 6.76 percent compared to 3.6 percent for the entire state.
This recommendation is advisory only and does not constitute a public health mandate and is applicable to anyone in North Adams under the age of 5, who is eating or drinking, or who has a medical or disabling condition that impedes communication or that makes the wearing of a mask difficult. Masking is still required on public transportation, schools, health care facilities, and municipal buildings. Privately owned venues and businesses may also require masking. 
Residents are also advised to continue the evidence-based mitigation strategies and public health guidance to limit the risk of infection and community spread. These including social distancing; washing hands often with soap and warm water; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth; cleaning frequently touched items with household sprays or wipes; covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing; staying home if sick; and getting vaccinated. 
Anyone developing any symptoms associated with COVID-19 should stay home and schedule a test. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
  • Fever or chills or shaking chills
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Muscle or body aches
In addition, if you have any combination of the symptoms below please contact your healthcare provider regarding the potential of a COVID-19 infection:
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

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North Adams Library Suspends In-Person Events

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The library will reevaluate whether or not they will resume in-person events at the end of the month.
Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo told the trustees Wednesday that all in-person events and activities in the library have been suspended as they monitor the recent COVID-19 surge.
"We decided to do this for the month of January, and we will reevaluate in a couple of weeks just to keep things on the safe side," she said. "Not everybody but a number of libraries are doing the same thing." 
She then reviewed a recent staff development day and although they were unable to undergo the crisis management portion of the training, they did receive a presentation from Berkshire Harm Reduction.
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