{child_flags:editors_pick}Terrible toll: Half of Berkshires COVID-19 losses came within nursing homes

{child_byline}By Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle{/child_byline}

True to statewide numbers, as many as half of Berkshire County’s COVID-19 deaths involved residents of the region’s nursing homes.

On the anniversary of the first COVID-19 death in the Berkshires, The Eagle is providing a look back at the nursing homes that suffered the worst losses.

As of Saturday, 269 people had been felled by the disease locally. Of those, at least 125 and possibly as many as 137 lived in the care of nursing facilities. The numbers are inexact because the state Department of Public Health lists only ranges for facilities with lower numbers of deaths.

And because the numbers are reported by the nursing homes, the totals have not been independently confirmed by health officials. The range shows that 46.5 percent to 50.9 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the county involved residents of nursing homes.

Here is a recap of losses by nursing home as of the DPH’s latest report, released Thursday, also noting the number of licensed beds as listed by the DPH:

Hillcrest Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Pittsfield (265 beds): 42 deaths out of more than 30 cases.

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• Williamstown Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Williamstown (180 beds): 24 deaths out of more than 30 cases.

• Springside Rehabilitation & Skilled Care Center in Pittsfield (115 beds): 22 deaths out of more than 30 cases.

Lee Healthcare in Lee (88 beds): 18 deaths out of more than 30 cases.

Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center in Lenox (74 beds): 15 deaths out of more than 30 cases.

Four other nursing homes in the county have reported to the DPH that they saw one to four COVID-19 deaths. They are: Berkshire Place in Pittsfield (54 beds; 11 to 30 cases); Craneville Place Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Dalton (89 beds; 11 to 30 cases); Fairview Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Great Barrington (146 beds; more than 30 cases); Timberlyn Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation in Great Barrington (71 beds; more than 30 cases).

For Massachusetts as a whole, there have been 8,839 deaths in long-term care facilities that have been confirmed to be due to COVID-19, or probably linked. That is 52.5 percent of the state’s 16,832 COVID-19 deaths.

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

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

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass, investigations editor, 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 and CommonWealth Magazine.