BHS Relaxing COVID-19 Infection Control Guideline

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In recognition of this progress and after careful review of all relevant public health data and information, Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) is relaxing many of its COVID-19 infection control guidelines effective Thursday, May 11, 2023, when both the state and federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declarations will expire.
It has been more than three years since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Berkshire County. Over the past three years, Berkshire Health Systems and the healthcare community at-large have evolved in their understanding of the virus and how best to support the community. 
BHS stated in a press release that they know that COVID-19 will likely maintain an ongoing presence in Berkshire County, and in response, both caregivers and community members are ready with the tools necessary to manage and prevent its transmission.
BHS's number one priority remains ensuring safe care environments for patients, staff, and community members in all areas of operations, including infection control and prevention of COVID-19 and similar viruses. BHS reported that they will continue to monitor and adapt as necessary to all public health data, information from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The following changes will apply to all patients, visitors, and community members across Berkshire Health Systems facilities effective May 11, 2023. BHS reserve the right to issue further changes as appropriate based on public health data and guidance.
Universal masking is no longer required at BHS. This includes ambulatory, acute, and home care settings.
Patients, visitors, and staff members may wear a mask if they wish, and BHS encourages anyone to do so if they feel it will benefit their health and wellness. To ensure care environments are physically and emotionally safe, patients may request that their care providers wear a mask. All such requests will be honored.
 Note that any patient or visitor who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days or who is symptomatic (fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat) must mask immediately upon entering a BHS facility and notify a staff member of their status. Home care patients who have tested positive in the past 10 days or are symptomatic must mask immediately upon the arrival of the BVNA clinician.
BHS asks all patients and visitors to self-screen upon arrival at any BHS facility. Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days or has a fever, cough, sore throat, or runny nose must wear a mask and inform a BHS staff member of their condition immediately upon check-in.
The above guidance will be posted outside all BHS facilities and in all patient registration areas. Staff will have masks on-hand to distribute to anyone who meets one or more of these criteria.
BVNA clinicians will continue to pre-screen patients prior their scheduled visits and will advise patients to mask if they are symptomatic or recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Pre-Procedure Testing:
As of May 11, 2023, pre-procedure COVID testing will be discontinued. Any patients with existing testing appointments scheduled through May 31, 2023, can keep those appointments. Patients with test appointments scheduled further out than May 31, 2023, will be notified of cancellation.
Pre-anesthesia screening of patients will continue in accordance with regular pre-operative procedures.
If a patient arrives on the day of the procedure with symptoms, providers will perform a rapid COVID-19 test. A patient who tests positive may have their procedure rescheduled.
Inpatient Testing:
BHS will continue to test all patients in the Emergency Department before admission to BMC or Fairview Hospital, whether or not they are symptomatic. Tests will be processed by the BHS in-house laboratory in order to return the quickest possible results.
General Testing:
The three COVID-19 testing centers in North Adams, Pittsfield, and Great Barrington will be closed by the end of May due to overall low demand for tests and the broad availability of at-home COVID-19 test kits. Visit for complete details on the final date of operation for each location.
BHS revised its visitor policy to accommodate additional visitors and/or expanded visiting hours. Review the visitor policy at for complete details.

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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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