Amalio Jusino

North County has been averaging about eight to 10 active COVID-19 cases in recent days, according to Amalio Jusino, who coordinates the Northern Berkshire COVID-19 Operations Center.

As COVID-19 cases rise across the Berkshires, North County largely has been spared so far.

Schools and restaurants in the Northern Berkshires will stay open for now, but health officials are on alert as caseloads increase in North Adams and surrounding towns.

“We’ve certainly seen a bit of an uptick,” said Amalio Jusino, who coordinates the Northern Berkshire COVID-19 Operations Center. The region has been averaging about eight to 10 active cases in recent days, he said.

Jusino called those numbers “manageable” and said he was more concerned about the increase of cases in Pittsfield and how that might affect the Northern Berkshires. Even Pittsfield’s table service closure, he pointed out, could create increased demand for in-person dining in surrounding areas.

On Thursday morning, more than 30 North County leaders joined Jusino for the first major logistical meeting of the operations center in a couple of months. They discussed the spike of coronavirus cases nationwide and in parts of Berkshire County.

“We’re monitoring what’s going on and preparing to make decisions based on what may happen around us,” he said.

In North Adams, Mayor Thomas Bernard told The Eagle he is “concerned” about the rise in cases but that there are no signs yet of the kind of community spread that the region experienced in the spring. The city registered two new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, according to the mayor, for a total of four active cases in the city as of Thursday.

“I have not seen any indication that you can trace the incidents to a particular social event or a particular business or a particular gathering,” he said.

There are no plans to move students to fully remote learning at this point, he said, except for a temporary pause in in-person learning for seventh and eighth graders at Drury High School. The district announced this week that it would keep students in those grades home until Nov. 19, out of “an abundance of caution” after seeing one COVID-19 case at the school.

Bernard also said the city has no intention of increasing restaurant regulations at this point but urged residents to continue to adhere to social distancing, limit contact with others, stay home whenever possible and wear a mask.

“This is not the time to take the foot off the gas,” he said.

There was less concern in Adams, which has just one active case, according to Mark Blaisdell, the town’s code enforcement officer. He told The Eagle that the current numbers are “not excessive.”

Hoosac Valley Elementary School in Adams announced a new case Monday, but Blaisdell said that the staff member who contracted the disease was not a resident of the town and that the case “was not related to school activity.”

Francesca Paris can be reached at fparis@berkshireeagle.com and 510-207-2535.