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With this daily feature, The Eagle runs down breaking local developments in the coronavirus crisis.

BAKER GETS A CIVIL DEFENSE: The state's law firm, led by Attorney General Maura Healey, is defending Gov. Charlie Baker's use of the 1950 Civil Defense Act in combating the coronavirus pandemic.

The Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments Friday for and against a nonprofit group's claim, filed in June, that the act wasn't meant to extend to pandemics and to allow sweeping executive orders regulating civic behavior.

The New Civil Liberties Alliance claims that Baker exceeded the powers of the act. It says it is fighting the "unconstitutional administrative state" on behalf of businesses and religious groups affected by those orders. The Legislature, not the governor, should be guiding the commonwealth through the pandemic, it claims.

But, Assistant Attorney General Doug Martland told the justices that if the Legislature wanted to amend the act and say it doesn't apply in pandemics, it could have done that.

"We have the Legislature confirming and ratifying the governor's decisions in a host of legislation," Martland said. He said the pandemic falls within a civil defense emergency. "It arises from a natural cause, a fact that's undisputed in this case, and it is causing a disaster of massive proportion within the commonwealth and across the country."

THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County's death toll held at 46 as of Friday, with the confirmed COVID-19 case count up two, to 679, the state Department of Public Health said.

The DPH said 14 new deaths were reported as of Friday in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 8,971. Deaths including those listed as probably caused by COVID-19 are 9,180. Confirmed cases rose 443, to 122,202.

The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, 396 (66); Hampshire, up one, to 1,194 (141); Hampden, up 17, to 7,834 (up five, to 767).

According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, 107,501 people in Massachusetts with COVID-19 have recovered.

LONG-TERM CARE PICTURE: As of Friday, 24,700 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities, up 20 in a day. In all, 382 facilities have had at least one confirmed case (one more than Thursday) and have seen 5,885 deaths linked to COVID-19, up seven.

BMC TEST RESULTS: As of Friday, Berkshire Medical Center reported having tested 24,183 people, with 625 positive results. The positive rate in the past seven days: 0.4 percent.

WORLD OF COVID: Global cases as of Friday totaled 28,287,928, with 911,770 deaths and 19,052,460 instances of recovery, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins. The U.S. has seen 6,431,885 cases, 192,663 deaths and 2,403,511 recoveries, the school said as of Friday.

LEADING INDICATORS: The DPH provides the following statistics daily as indicators in the fight against coronavirus infection. Each provides a number and then a change in either the count or "lowest observed value." Friday's figures:

- Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 0.8, unchanged;

- Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 341, up 13 percent;

- Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 2;

- Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 9, up 4 percent.

WILLIAMS COLLEGE REPORTS: The college's daily dashboard said, as of Friday, that the campus had administered 7,755 tests for COVID-19 since Aug. 17 and those produced two positive results. Also, 3,625 tests in the past seven days produced one positive result.

OTHER COLLEGE NUMBERS: The New York Times listed the following number of cases at other regional campuses: University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 14; Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, 1; Smith College, 2; Mount Holyoke College, 3.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Friday, Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had no COVID-19 cases.

The patient count for other Western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, no cases; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, no cases; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 15 cases, three in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, six cases, two in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, three cases, none in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, one case, not in ICU.

The numbers include confirmed and suspected cases.

Statewide, as of Friday there were 330 people hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 137 people. Of those hospitalized, 60 are in ICU and 22 are on ventilators.

To date, 1,925,618 people have been tested in Massachusetts for the virus, according to the DPH.

To contribute news to The Checkup, please email lparnass@berkshireeagle.com or call 413-588-8341.


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