Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

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

WILL D.C. RIDE TO RESCUE?: This past week, two leading lawmakers on Beacon Hill shared wildly different hunches on whether the federal government will be a fiscal friend to state budget-makers.

The question is timely, because an interim spending plan runs only through October.

State Rep. Michael Rodrigues, chair of the Ways and Means Committee, said he thinks it wise to expect "zero dollars of federal support." But, in the Senate, President Karen Spilka said Friday she is hopeful that Congress will "swoop down" with financial aid to states.

Time will tell who is more right on that.

Also this past week, Massachusetts shed an unwanted title. It no longer is the state with the highest unemployment rate in the U.S. As of Friday, it is tied for having the sixth-highest jobless rate.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Massachusetts employers added 51,600 jobs in August, mainly in health care, education and — finally — in leisure and hospitality, an important sector in Berkshire County. That was enough to pull the jobless rate down from 16.2 percent in July to 11.3 percent in August.

Those are still high numbers. Last March, the state jobless rate was 2.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County's death toll stood at 49 as of Saturday, with the confirmed COVID-19 case count unchanged for the day at 701, the state Department of Public Health said.

The DPH said 26 deaths were reported as of Saturday in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 9,085. Deaths including those listed as probably caused by COVID-19 are 9,295. Confirmed cases rose 569, to 125,139.

The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up two, to 403 (67); Hampshire, up two, to 1,205 (141); Hampden, up 19, to 7,966 (up two, to 771).

According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, 109,397 people in Massachusetts with COVID-19 have recovered.

LONG-TERM CARE PICTURE: As of Saturday, 24,775 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities, up 11 in a day. In all, 382 facilities have had at least one confirmed case and have seen 5,964 deaths linked to COVID-19, an increase of 18 over Friday's numbers.

WORLD OF COVID: Global cases topped 30,602,281, with 953,810 deaths and 20,833,568 instances of recovery, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins. The U.S. has seen 6,751,119 cases, 198,969 deaths and 2,556,465 recoveries, the school said.

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." Saturday's figures:

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

- Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 359, up 19 percent;

- Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 4;

- Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 16, up 71 percent.

WILLIAMS COLLEGE REPORTS: The college's daily dashboard said the campus had administered 11,154 tests for COVID-19 since Aug. 17 and those produced three positive results. Also, 2,827 tests in the past seven days produced zero positive results.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Saturday, Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for one COVID-19 patient, not in intensive care. Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had no cases.

The patient count for other Western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, no cases; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, one case, not in ICU; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 22 cases, two in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, one case in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, five cases, none in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, one case, not in ICU.

The numbers include confirmed and suspected cases.

Statewide, 362 people are hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 140 people. Of those hospitalized, 65 are in ICU and 28 are on ventilators.

To date, 3,264,873 tests have been performed for the virus, according to Johns Hopkins.

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


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us.
We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.