With this daily feature, The Eagle runs down breaking local developments in the coronavirus crisis.
A PLAN FOR THAT: As of Saturday, nearly 210,000 Americans have died because of the coronavirus. It is a brutal toll, but still is far eclipsed by the number of people lost to opioid overdose deaths, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren pointed out in a recent op-ed.
"Long before the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the United States, the country was already battling another large-scale public health crisis: the opioid epidemic," she wrote.
Warren argues that a newer crisis should not shoulder out an older one. She argues that Congress should take steps to help people battling opioid addiction, people who, she writes, are disproportionately Black, brown and American Indian.
"The coronavirus pandemic has actually made the opioid crisis worse and accelerated its devastation. Congress has a responsibility to take immediate action to tackle these twin crises. It can start by passing my Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act to end the opioid crisis and save lives," Warren writes. Yes, she has a plan for that.
Nearly 750,000 Americans have died as a result of the opioid crisis, according to Warren. She writes that while rates of fatal overdoses are declining, they are rising for Black and Hispanic people. People with substance-use disorder, the senator writes, face an increased risk of dying of COVID-19.
THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County's death toll stood at 50 as of Saturday, with the confirmed COVID-19 case count at 50, the state Department of Public Health said.
The DPH said 17 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 9,292. Deaths including those listed as probably caused by COVID-19 are 9,507. Confirmed cases rose 600, to 131,814.
The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up two, to 415 (68); Hampshire, up 16, to 1,316 (up one, to 148); Hampden, up 32, to 8,435 (up two, to 789).
According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, 113,768 people in Massachusetts with COVID-19 have recovered.
LONG-TERM CARE PICTURE: As of Saturday, 24,951 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities, a one-day increase of 15. In all, 385 facilities have had at least one confirmed case (one more than Friday) and have seen 6,104 deaths linked to COVID-19, an increase of 12.
UNDERLYING CONDITIONS STILL KEY FACTOR: Of 4,931 COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts analyzed by the state DPH, just 89 involved people with no underlying medical conditions. The disease continues to be most hazardous for people with a range of medical problems.
WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 34,768,468, with 1,030,880 deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins. The U.S. has seen 7,376,099 cases and 209,318 deaths.
LEADING INDICATORS: The state DPH provides the following statistics as indicators in the fight against coronavirus infection. Each provides a number and then a change in either the count or "lowest observed value." Saturday's figures continued to show notable increase over the lowest rates:
- Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 1.1, up 44 percent;
- Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 424, up 40 percent;
- Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 2;
- Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 16, up 71 percent.
PPE SUPPLIES: Gov. Charlie Baker said this past week that the state should have adequate supplies of medical gear and personal protective equipment (PPE), in the event of a significant increase in COVID-19 cases this fall.
The state continues to purchase PPE. And more state companies are getting into the business of producing supplies. Baker said Thursday that when it comes to ventilators, the state is "in really good shape."
AT THE COLLEGES: The Williams College daily dashboard said the campus had administered 16,459 tests for COVID-19 since Aug. 17 and those produced four positive results. Also, 2,862 tests in the past seven days produced one positive result.
No new numbers were available Saturday for the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams or Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington.
AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Saturday, Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for one COVID-19 patient in intensive care. Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had no cases.
Statewide, 416 people are hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 145 people. Of those hospitalized, 75 are in ICU and 27 are on ventilators.
To date, 4,265,786 people in Massachusetts have been tested for the virus, according to Johns Hopkins.
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