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FEMA Awards $2.9 Million To BMC For COVID-19 Costs

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BOSTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will send more than $2.9 million to Massachusetts to reimburse Berkshire Medical Center (BMC) for the additional costs of operating safely and handling increased patient loads during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hospital will receive a total of $2,908,751 in federal funding through FEMA's Public Assistance grant program to reimburse some of the costs associated with operating in a pandemic environment between June and September 2020, including:
  • Setting up a temporary COVID-19 testing site in the hospital's parking lot and providing 17,044 tests;
  • Contracting for security, diagnostic/laboratory services, nursing labor, and ambulatory services; and
  • Converting a total of 48 additional rooms to airborne isolation rooms
"FEMA is pleased to be able to assist Berkshire Medical Center with these costs," said FEMA Region 1 Regional Administrator Lori Ehrlich. "Providing resources for our partners on the front lines of the pandemic fight is critical to their success, and our success as a nation."
So far, FEMA has provided nearly $867 million in Public Assistance grants to Massachusetts to reimburse the commonwealth for pandemic-related expenses.
Additional information about FEMA's Public Assistance program is available at

Tags: BHS,   BMC,   COVID-19,   FEMA,   

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Pittsfield Police Advisory Board Wants Voice in Use of Body Cameras

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Following the City Council's endorsement of dashboard and body cameras on Pittsfield Police, the Police Advisory Review Board would like to review the equipment's policy before anything is implemented.

Chair Ellen Maxon this week asked the board members if they would like to take a vote to support body cameras but some were unsure of their stance. Instead, the panel motioned Tuesday to request that in the event that the Police Department adopts such a program, PARB reviews the governing policies before implementation.

The conversation is in response to the death of Miguel Estrella at the hands of a police officer in late March, which has sparked a significant community response along with conversations about police accountability and the lack of mental health support.

"I still have a pretty mixed opinion because I feel like something like body cameras, people think that's going to be the end all, be all and we don't have to do any more work," board member Erin Sullivan said, adding that there is a bigger problem beyond video surveillance.

Board member Dennis Powell, who is also president of the Berkshire NAACP, wished not to share his thoughts on body cameras at the moment.  

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