Pittsfield COVID Rates Remain Low for Thanksgiving

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city for the most part remains on the downward trend from two fall COVID-19 surges as the region enters the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Last week, Director of Public Health Andy Cambi reported to the City Council that Pittsfield is recovering from two fall surges.  He did remind the panel of last year's holiday surge that pushed the city into the red zone and said residents should always be thinking about protecting themselves.

Because other metrics don't include at-home tests, Cambi has indicated that the city's Biobot sewage testing is the truest way to gauge the virus's impact on the community.

The city on Sunday showed a virus concentration of 699,000 copies per liter, which is higher than last week’s concentration of 507,000 copies per liter but lower than the 2.7 million copies per liter that the city showed in mid-October.

Starting the week, there were 15 daily cases per 100,000, down from 15.9 last week and only five new cases reported.

Other metrics have seen a slight increase but remain much lower than the rates in October.

The percent positivity rate of 6.4 has increased from 5.6 percent last week as well as the estimated actively contagious cases, which have increased from 30 to 42.  

Both remain significantly lower than last month when positivity rates were about 10 percent and case counts were around 100.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has provided schools with free tests for students and staff to bring home over the weekend. They are being asked to test on Sunday in hopes of avoiding any post-holiday surges. 

The city remains in the "red zone" for transmission, having more than 10 cases per 100,000 and a positivity rate above five percent. It has essentially remained in this category since last year with some reprieve in the spring that put the city in the lesser "yellow zone."

Next week marks the return of the in-person tree lighting, which was not able to happen in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic. Last month also saw the return of the city's Halloween parade.

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Pittsfield to Unveil Plaque for Buddy Pellerin Ballfield

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A commemorative plaque will officially designate the Clapp Park ballfield for former coach George "Buddy" Pellerin.

The name change was approved about seven years ago after Pellerin passed away at the age of 77. The plaque's set be unveiled at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14.

"Chairman [Cliff] Nilan has been involved with this effort to site a permanent plaque at the Buddy Pellerin Field which is of course the main baseball field and Clapp Park where Buddy Pellerin coached and played for many, many years," Park, Open Space and Natural Resource Program Manager James McGrath explained to the Parks Commission on Monday.

"And this is a permanent recognition of his contribution to the city."

The plaque, currently covered up, is just behind home plate on the backstop behind the walking track.  It was pointed out that the public is welcome to join the unveiling to remember a "literal Pittsfield giant."

Pellerin was head coach of the Pittsfield High baseball team for 19 years, leading the team to the state title in 1966 and taking the team to the 1974 title game. He also served as athletic director and head softball coach during his time at PHS.
He handed over the reins of the baseball team in 1982 but remained active in the sport. He went on to coach softball at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and the former St. Joseph's High as well as the city's Babe Ruth League all-star team. He was inducted into the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1988.
The park has seen major improvements after the city partnered with the Rotary Club and the Buddy Pellerin Field Committee on a state grant.

During the meeting, it was also reported that the Berkshire County Historical Society has been working with the city to plant a commemorative elm tree in Park Square. It will replace the iconic one that was planted in the 1990s to emulate an elm that was admired by Pittsfield residents in the city's early days.

There will be a dedication ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 5:30 p.m. The event will fall on Nation Plant a Tree Day.

"This year we have been working with [McGrath] to plan a special planting of an elm to commemorate the elm that was obviously very famous here in Pittsfield and was chopped down but was first saved by Lucretia Williams," Executive Director Lesley Herzberg explained.

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