Vaccine shots are going into arms again with the booster rollout — but the rate of Berkshire County residents who are fully vaccinated continues to stay on a plateau.
The number of doses being administered has shot up across the state, with many residents now eligible for a third shot. The state reported administering more than 27,000 doses on Thursday, well up from previous weeks. Those numbers come as COVID-19 case counts largely continue to fall across the state and the country.
But in Berkshire County, just 65 percent of people are fully vaccinated, according to state data. That’s up only one percentage point from early September.
People in their 20s remain the least vaccinated across the county. Just 63 percent of 20 to 29 year olds were vaccinated with at least one dose as of earlier this week, according to state data, compared to a 75 percent one-dose rate in the county overall.
More than 90 percent of people 60 and older in Berkshire County have received at least one shot, according to the state.
Vaccination rates among Black, Hispanic and multiracial people in Berkshire County, as well as American Indian/Alaska Native residents, continue to lag behind the rates for white residents.
According to state data, just 59 percent of Black residents in Berkshire County and 64 percent of Hispanic residents have received at least one dose, well below the overall rate for the county.
KEY STATS: Berkshire County saw three new COVID-19 deaths during the past week. To date, the county has 315 reported deaths. The confirmed case count rose by 146 over the past week, to 8,278. The most recent 14-day test positivity rate reported for the county was 1.6 percent, as of Oct. 5.
STATE PICTURE: The state Department of Public Health said 98 new confirmed deaths were reported during the past week, pushing the statewide total to 18,358. Over the past week, confirmed cases rose by 9,076, to 768,468.
VACCINATIONS: According to the state’s latest report, 74 percent of Berkshire County residents have received at least one shot and 65 percent are vaccinated fully.
Note that this data, while the best available estimate, still might not accurately reflect the county’s vaccination rates for several reasons.
Part-time residents who moved to the county during the pandemic, or who left and received their shots elsewhere, might 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 also are inaccurate in many cases, since the state collects that data by ZIP code, and many Berkshire County municipalities share ZIP codes.
HIGH TRANSMISSION? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still classifies Berkshire County as a “high community transmission” county – like more than nine in 10 counties across the United States. The CDC classification comes from the caseload in the past week: Any county with at least 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the previous seven days falls under “high” transmission. In the last seven days, the Berkshires have had 116 cases per 100,000 residents.
If cases continue to trend down, below the 100 case threshold, then the county could be classified at “substantial” transmission. Once the county has fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 residents, it will once again be considered at “moderate” transmission. CDC guidelines recommend masking (regardless of vaccination status) at high and substantial transmission, but not at moderate or low.
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 during the past 14 days. These data are accurate as of Oct. 2.
Adams: 479; 21
Alford: Fewer than 5; 0
Becket: 94; 0
Cheshire: 173; 8
Clarksburg: 66; fewer than 5
Dalton: 387; 30
Egremont: 24; 0
Florida: 23; fewer than 5
Great Barrington: 545; fewer than 5
Hancock: 21; 0
Hinsdale: 90; fewer than 5
Lanesborough: 159; 14
Lee: 393; fewer than 5
Lenox: 298; 12
Monterey: 29; fewer than 5
Mount Washington: 7; 0
New Ashford: 6; 0
New Marlborough: 34; fewer than 5
North Adams: 813; 36
Otis: 90; fewer than 5
Peru: 15; 0
Pittsfield: 3,640; 129
Richmond: 52; 5
Sandisfield: 72; fewer than 5
Savoy: 28; fewer than 5
Sheffield: 138; 0
Stockbridge: 82; 0
Tyringham: 13; fewer than 5
Washington: 16; fewer than 5
West Stockbridge: 53; 0
Williamstown: 353; 9
Windsor: 32; fewer than 5
WIDER WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 236,940,594, with 4,838,297 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen at least 44,175,158 cases and 710,530 deaths.
Across the world, more than 6.4 billion vaccine doses have been administered, Johns Hopkins reports. More than 398 million of those have been administered in the U.S.
HOSPITAL CHECK: Berkshire Health Systems reported caring for 10 COVID-19 patients as of Friday. Statewide, 562 people are hospitalized, 147 are in intensive care units and 93 are intubated.
COVID-19 VACCINES: You can get vaccinated at many local pharmacies, in addition to the following locations:
• Pittsfield COVID-19 Testing Center at 505 East St. is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• The North Adams COVID-19 Testing Center at 98 Church St. is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Fairview Hospital at 29 Lewis Ave. in Great Barrington is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Appointments are required at all locations. Call 855-262-5465 or visit berkshirepatientportal.com.
Also, 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.
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 also can be obtained through CVS by filling out a form online.
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