Students are back in classrooms – and testing positive.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education this week released its first case report of the new school year, which found districts reported 1,230 cases of COVID-19 among students and 190 among staff.
The department said the student cases represent 0.13 percent of the estimated 920,000 students learning in-person in K-12 schools in Massachusetts. The cases among around 140,000 staff members work out to a similar percentage, 0.14 percent.
About half of the state’s districts – there are around 400 in total – reported either no student cases or just one. Springfield reported the most student cases for one district: 70.
The dataset includes only positive tests that came back between Monday and Wednesday of this week. Future reports will each cover an entire school week.
Berkshire districts that reported student cases in that time frame include Central Berkshire (5 cases), Berkshire Hills (3 cases), Farmington River Regional (2 cases), Hoosac Valley Regional (2 cases), North Adams (2 cases), Lenox (1 case), Northern Berkshire Regional Vocational Technical (1 case) and Southern Berkshire (1 case).
Local schools have also had cases not captured in DESE’s report. Pittsfield Public Schools has 18 current confirmed student cases, according to the district’s dashboard, but had zero positive tests reported during the report’s three-day window.
The student positives come as community transmission remains high in Berkshire County.
KEY STATS: Berkshire County saw three new COVID-19 deaths during the past week. To date, the county has 309 reported deaths. The confirmed case count rose by 186 over the past week, to 7,825. The most recent 14-day test positivity rate reported for the county was 1.9 percent, as of Sept. 11.
STATE PICTURE: The state Department of Public Health said 90 new confirmed deaths were reported during the past week, pushing the statewide total to 18,062 as of Thursday. Over the past week, confirmed cases rose by 12,944, to 738,303.
VACCINATIONS: According to the state’s latest report, 73 percent of Berkshire County residents have received at least one shot and 64 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.
SCHOOLS: After a 2020-2021 school year marked by periods of remote instruction, districts across Massachusetts are now back to full-time in-person learning. Teachers and students age 12 and up are able to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but there’s still no clear timeline on when younger kids will be eligible for vaccines. Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley has mandated universal mask-wearing in schools until at least Oct. 1.
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 Sept. 11.
Adams: 452; 23
Alford: Fewer than 5; 0
Becket: 87; 6
Cheshire: 160; 8
Clarksburg: 59; fewer than 5
Dalton: 351; 15
Egremont: 24; fewer than 5
Florida: 19; 0
Great Barrington: 537; 17
Hancock: 18; 0
Hinsdale: 83; 5
Lee: 385; 15
Lenox: 283; 9
Monterey: 28; fewer than 5
Mount Washington: 7; 0
New Ashford: 5; fewer than 5
New Marlborough: 30; fewer than 5
North Adams: 761; 18
Otis: 87; 18
Peru: 13; fewer than 5
Pittsfield: 3,438; 132
Richmond: 47; fewer than 5
Sandisfield: 64; 20
Savoy: 22; 0
Stockbridge: 82; fewer than 5
Tyringham: 9; 0
Washington: 15; fewer than 5
West Stockbridge: 53; 6
Williamstown: 338; 19
Windsor: 28; fewer than 5
WIDER WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 227,185,960 with 4,673,732 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen at least 41,796,204 cases and 670,128 deaths.
Across the world, more than 5.8 billion vaccine doses have been administered, Johns Hopkins reports. More than 381 million of those have been administered in the U.S.
HOSPITAL CHECK: Berkshire Health Systems reported caring for eight COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday, the last data published by the hospital system. Statewide, 704 people are hospitalized, 176 are in intensive care units and 98 are intubated.
COVID-19 VACCINES: For information on vaccines and to schedule an appointment, visit getvaccinatedberkshires.org.
Appointments now are available seven days a week at the testing sites at 505 East St. in Pittsfield and 98 Church St. in North Adams. Vaccines are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in both cities.
BMC Urgent Care, also located at 505 East St. in Pittsfield, is providing appointments until 7:30 p.m.
In South County, Fairview Hospital is administering vaccinations on-site at the hospital from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments are required. Call 855-262-5465.
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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State House News Service contributed to this report.