When the delta variant struck Provincetown, it captured the nation’s attention.
A perfect storm of close, indoor contacts and the highly-infectious variant created an outbreak that grew to more than 1,000 cases.
But just seven people were hospitalized and only one died, according to Gov. Charlie Baker.
“I think in some respects, Provincetown was as big a test as you could possibly put a vaccine through,” he said on Thursday. “And yet, in a cluster with more than 1,000 people, only seven people were hospitalized, and one person died, and the person who died had a lot of complexities. And I think in some respects, the vaccines have proven their effectiveness, and we should do everything we can to encourage people to get vaccinated.”
Vox reporter German Lopez estimated that the same outbreak pre-vaccines would have led to 100 hospitalizations and 10 deaths.
His remarks come as the state battles a continual increase in COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases has hit the same level as early May.
In Berkshire County, cases appear to have plateaued somewhat, with the rolling average of new cases hovering between 18 and 19 cases per day for the last week. But as the delta variant continued to spread locally, more people died of COVID-19 in the last week than June and July combined.
KEY STATS: Berkshire County saw seven new COVID-19 deaths in the past week. To date, the county has 297 reported deaths. The confirmed case count rose by 125 over the past week to 6,920.
TWO WEEKS AT A GLANCE: In its most recent report, the state Department of Public Health provided this COVID-19 data for Berkshire County, accurate as of last Saturday.
Cases in previous 14 days: 224
Total tests: 434,017
Test positivity in past 14 days: 3.05 percent
STATE PICTURE: The DPH said 45 new confirmed deaths were reported in the last week, pushing the statewide total to 17,772 as of Thursday. Over the last week, confirmed cases rose by 7,474 to 686,018.
VACCINATIONS: According to the state’s latest report, 70 percent of Berkshire County residents have received at least one shot and 61 percent are fully vaccinated.
Note that these data, while the best available estimate, still may not accurately reflect the county’s vaccination rates for several reasons.
Part-time residents who moved up to the county during the pandemic, or who left and received their shot elsewhere, may be artificially raising or lowering the rate. People who got vaccinated in other states are not counted in the data. The rates provided by the state also rely on Census estimates, rather than new Census data.
Town-by-town rates provided by the state are also inaccurate in many cases, since the state collects that data by zip code and many Berkshire County municipalities share zip codes.
BOOSTER SHOTS: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday cleared the way for booster shots for immunocompromised Americans, following approval from the Food and Drug Administration late Thursday night.
The approval clears third doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for “solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.”
Federal health officials have not approve a booster at this point for recipients of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
COMMUNITY DATA: Here are this week’s figures from the DPH on confirmed coronavirus cases by city and town. In alphabetical order, this lists all Berkshire County communities. The first number is the total number of cases during the pandemic. The second is the number of new cases in the last 14 days.
Adams: 373, 6
Alford: fewer than 5, 0
Becket: 74, fewer than 5
Cheshire: 142, 9
Clarksburg: 46, fewer than 5
Dalton: 306, fewer than 5
Egremont: 21, 5
Florida: 19, 0
Great Barrington: 492, 21
Hancock: 18, 0
Hinsdale: 74, fewer than 5
Lanesborough: 119, fewer than 5
Lee: 343, fewer than 5
Lenox: 257, 7
Monterey: 21, fewer than 5
Mount Washington: 6, 0
New Ashford: fewer than 5, 0
New Marlborough: 26, fewer than 5
North Adams: 677, 74
Otis: 67, fewer than 5
Peru: 12, 0
Pittsfield: 3,089, 67
Richmond: 42, 0
Sandisfield: 41, 0
Savoy: 17, 0
Sheffield: 123, fewer than 5
Stockbridge: 76, 5
Tyringham: 8, 0
Washington: 10, 0
West Stockbridge: 46, 5
Williamstown: 302, fewer than 5
Windsor: 25, 0
WIDER WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 205,898,243, with 4,341,589 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen at least 36,402,782 cases and 619,793 deaths.
Across the world, more than 4.6 billion vaccine doses have been administered, Johns Hopkins reports. More than 350 million of those have been administered in the U.S.
HOSPITAL CHECK: Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for three COVID-19 patient as of Friday. Statewide, 375 people are hospitalized, 85 are in ICU and 32 are on ventilators.
COVID-19 VACCINES: For information on vaccines and to schedule an appointment, visit getvaccinatedberkshires.org.
Appointments are now available seven days a week for walk-ins at the testing sites at 505 East Street, Pittsfield, and 98 Church Street, North Adams. Vaccines are available from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Pittsfield and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in North Adams.
In South County, Fairview Hospital is administering vaccinations on-site at the hospital Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
TESTING: “Stop the Spread” testing sites are open at three Berkshire Health Systems locations. Tests will be conducted for any reason, with the state picking up the cost. To schedule a test, call the toll-free hotline, 855-262-5465, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.
Locations are: Pittsfield, 505 East St., St Luke’s Square, adjacent to BHS Urgent Care Center; North Adams, 98 Church St., next to the city library; Great Barrington: 475 Main St. Tests can also be obtained through CVS by filling out a form online.
JOIN US: Quality local journalism, like you find in The Checkup, needs your support. When you and your family subscribe to us, that’s the fuel we need to keep reporting the essential news you want. Join us. Help us build our community. We are offering a 30-day free trial to readers of The Checkup.