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The Checkup: 382 new COVID-19 cases; DA's office says all staffers meet vaccine mandate

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As of Thursday, there were 382 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Berkshire County, for a seven-day rolling average of 216.7 new daily cases. That is a 158 percent increase from two weeks ago.

Berkshire Health Systems had 21 hospitalized patients with positive COVID-19 tests as of Wednesday. There were no new deaths reported in Berkshire County, for a pandemic total of 351.

Berkshire County has high transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends wearing masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, at substantial or high transmission levels.

Across the state, there were 18,721 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases. The state had 3,180 hospitalized patients, with 36 new deaths reported. To date, 20,386 people in Massachusetts have died of COVID-19.

Across Massachusetts, 74.6 percent of the population is vaccinated fully, according to state data. County-level vaccination rates are reported weekly, and 72 percent of Berkshire County residents were vaccinated fully as of last week.

DA’S OFFICE REPORTS ON VACCINE STATUS: All 54 members of the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office staff are vaccinated fully against COVID-19, the office announced Thursday.

In keeping with an executive order by Gov. Charlie Baker, Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington implemented a vaccine mandate for her staff.

That August order set an October deadline. The office said it removed employees who did not comply from its payroll, though it allowed workers to apply for exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

One worker was terminated and no exemptions were given, a spokesman said Thursday. All newly hired employees must be vaccinated.

TESTING SITES: You can get tests for COVID-19 at the following three locations:

• Pittsfield – 505 East St., St Luke’s Square, adjacent to BHS Urgent Care – Open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• North Adams – 98 Church St., next to the North Adams Library – Open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Great Barrington – 475 Main St., next to the Great Barrington Police Department – Open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to noon.

Appointments for testing are required at all locations.

Call 855-262-5465 or visit berkshirepatientportal.com. The hotline is typically open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

VACCINE ACCESS: Community Health Programs posts the schedule for its mobile vaccination van at chpberkshires.org/mobile. Vaccines are available with no appointment necessary.

For information call 413-429-2946.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, CommonWealth Magazine and with the Reuters news service.

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