Exterior of North Adams Commons showing sign

Seven residents at the North Adams Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center were positive for COVID-19 when they died recently, according to a Berkshire Healthcare Systems official.

NORTH ADAMS — The COVID-19 outbreak at North Adams Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has grown, and seven people recently have died.

“I can confirm we have had seven residents that have passed that were COVID-positive at the time of their passing,” said Lisa Gaudet, vice president of business development and communications at Berkshire Healthcare Systems, which owns the facility.

“Some of these folks were frail to begin with,” Gaudet said, adding that a couple were in hospice.

“[The] staff is heartbroken,” Gaudet said. “This has been incredibly difficult for the team there, to have this happen.”

Since the outbreak began last month, 70 people at the facility have tested positive.

Fifty-seven residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and 35 of those have recovered, Gaudet said. Thirteen staff members have tested positive, 10 of whom have recovered.

Of the residents who tested positive, four were not vaccinated, and of the staff members who tested positive, eight were not vaccinated, according to Gaudet.

Gaudet did not have figures on the vaccination status of those who died. Currently, three residents are hospitalized, she said.

North Adams Commons has not received results of sequencing from the state to confirm whether the virus is the delta variant, Gaudet said.

“DPH is telling us we should presume it’s the delta variant,” she said.

It’s not yet clear how the virus entered the facility.

“The contact-tracing work has been done, and they are going to do their root-cause analysis,” Gaudet said.

Everyone in the facility is being tested multiple times each week, Gaudet said.

As of July 4, 89 percent of residents and 67 percent of staff at North Adams Commons had been vaccinated for COVID-19, according to Gaudet. By Oct. 10, all staff in long-term care facilities must be vaccinated, the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker announced in early August.

Vaccines are effective, and a small percentage of vaccinated people will get COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6272.

Reporter

Greta Jochem, a Report for America Corps member, joined the Eagle in 2021. Previously, she was a reporter at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. She is also a member of the investigations team.