THE CHECKUP GRAPHIC

Editor's note: This has been updated to correct an error concerning the number of current COVID-19 cases at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington. There are no patients with the disease at the hospital.

COVIDACTNOW.ORG New cases Berk County Nov. 20 2020

THE NUMBERS: New cases in Berkshire County rose 19 as of Friday, pushing the total to 1,201, on a day that again saw more than 2,000 new cases in the state. The new cases are prompting more and more schools to revert to remote instruction, including, on Friday, the Central Berkshire Regional School District. The death toll was unchanged at 52, the state Department of Public Health said.

The DPH said 34 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 10,238. Deaths including those listed as probably caused by COVID-19 is 10,469. Confirmed cases rose 2,288 to 194,338. According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, 145,682 people in Massachusetts with COVID-19 have recovered.

COMMUNITY DATA: Here are this week’s figures from the DPH on confirmed coronavirus cases by city and town. In alphabetical order, this lists results for communities with five or more cases. After community name, the figures list total number of cases, number of new cases in the past 14 days, total number of tests, number of tests in the past 14 days and number of positive tests in the past 14 days:

Adams: Total cases: 54 (up 5); cases last 14 days: 6; tests last 14 days: 670; number positives: 6

Becket: Total cases: 19 (up 1); cases last 14 days: fewer than five; tests last 14 days: 155; number positives: 2

Clarksburg: Total cases: 14 (up 4); cases last 14 days: 5; tests last 14 days: 77; number positives: 5

Dalton: Total cases: 48 (up 13); cases last 14 days: 18; tests last 14 days: 713; number positives: 19

Egremont: Total cases: 8 (up 1); cases last 14 days: fewer than five; tests last 14 days: 84; number positives: 1

Great Barrington: Total cases: 89 (up 3); cases last 14 days: fewer than five; tests last 14 days: 1,793; number positives: 4

Hinsdale: Total cases: 7 (up 1); cases last 14 days: fewer than five; tests last 14 days: 176; number positives: 2

Lanesborough: Total cases: 20 (up 4); cases last 14 days: 8; tests last 14 days: 289; number positives: 8

Lee: Total cases: 47 (up 16); cases last 14 days: 19; tests last 14 days: 597; number positives: 24

Lenox: Total cases: 43 (up 15); cases last 14 days: 12; tests last 14 days: 629; number positives: 16

New Marlborough: Total cases: 9; cases last 14 days: 0; tests last 14 days: 77; number positives: 0

North Adams: Total cases: 85 (up 10); cases last 14 days: 12; tests last 14 days: 1,405; number positives: 12

Pittsfield: Total cases: 485 (up 109); cases last 14 days: 204; tests last 14 days: 4,807; number positives: 209

Richmond: Total cases: 12; cases last 14 days: fewer than five; tests last 14 days: 89; number positives: 3

Sandisfield: Total cases: 8; cases last 14 days: 0; tests last 14 days: 78; number positives: 0

Sheffield: Total cases: 27 (up 1); cases last 14 days: fewer than five; tests last 14 days: 1,035; number positives: 2

Stockbridge: Total cases: 18 (up 2); cases last 14 days: fewer than five; tests last 14 days: 197; number positives: 3

West Stockbridge: Total cases: 10 (up 1); cases last 14 days: fewer than five; tests last 14 days: 118; number positives: 2

Williamstown: Total cases: 106 (up 4); cases last 14 days: fewer than five; tests last 14 days: 6,792; number positives: 3

NUMBER OF ACTIVE CASES: 35,526 statewide

WESTERN MASS. PICTURE: The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up six to 571 (75); Hampshire, up 27 to 2,037 (160); Hampden, up 228 to 13,929 (up three to 876).

BMC HOTLINE SNAGS: Calls continue to come in to a Berkshire Medical Center COVID-19 hotline at about twice the rate seen two weeks ago, amid public concern about a rise in Berkshire County cases.

As of Thursday, BMC says it has resolved problems with the hotline that had led to some dropped calls. Michael Leary, the BMC spokesman, appealed to callers not to give up too soon. “We are seeing that some people are being impatient and not hanging online long enough for an answer to come through,” he said. “We're asking people to wait and be patient."

The hotline can be used to schedule appointments for testing and to speak with nurses about the disease. The line is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. seven days a week. To reach it, call 855-BMC-LINK (855-262-5465).

The hotline logged 670 calls Wednesday, 730 on Tuesday and 664 on Monday. The Wednesday before saw 655 calls, while on Nov. 4, the service received 374 calls. Though an earlier estimate put the call volume at 1,000 at one point, that was likely overstated, Leary said, due to system glitches, including dropped calls from people who dialed in again and were counted twice.

Tests for COVID-19 continue to be made a priority for callers with symptoms of the virus, as well as those preparing for a medical procedure, Leary said. "The timeframe for testing will be dependent on the need for it."

LONG-TERM CARE WATCH: As of Friday, 26,752 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities, up 60 since Thursday. In all, 398 facilities have had at least one confirmed case and have seen 6,659 deaths linked to COVID-19, up 14 in a day.

HOSPITAL CHECK: As of Friday, Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for 12 COVID-19 patients. Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had no cases. Meantime, BMC reported having tested 36,398 people during the pandemic, with 1,029 positive results. There were 1,078 pending test results. In the last two weeks, BMC has performed 6,833 tests with a 3.9 percent positivity rate.

Statewide, 904 people are hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, 179 are in ICU and 75 are on ventilators.

To date, 7,576,974 tests for the virus have been conducted in Massachusetts, according to Johns Hopkins.

WIDER WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 57,365,049, with 1,368,746 deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen 11,854,203 cases and 253,882 deaths.

LEADING INDICATORS: The DPH provides the following statistics as indicators in the fight against coronavirus infection. Each provides a number and then a change in either the count or “lowest observed value.” Friday’s figures:

– Seven-day average of new confirmed cases: 1,665, up 963 percent

– Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 3.3, up 323 percent

– Seven-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 823, up 430 percent

– Seven-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 25, up 132 percent

SCHOOL INCREASES: In the week before Thursday, public schools in Massachusetts saw 398 new cases of COVID-19 among students, up from 191 the week before. The numbers cover students engaged in either in-person or hybrid learning, according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Staff and faculty accounted for another 254 cases.

AT THE COLLEGES: Williams College says that starting Thursday, it encountered a problem with its testing partner, the Broad Institute. As a consequence, results for tests taken from Wednesday through Friday will be delayed. The college said it expects to be able to resume same-day test reports Tuesday. As of Thursday, the college was reporting 10 positive cases since Aug. 17, including three in the last week.

The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts said Friday that 140 tests in the last week found two confirmed cases. In all, it has performed 3,617 tests with seven positive cases. Bard College at Simon’s Rock also released new information Friday. The college has performed 7,557 tests during the pandemic, with two positive results, none in the last week.

DPH Dashboard Nov. 20 2020

To contribute news to The Checkup, please email lparnass@berkshireeagle.com or call 413-588-8341.

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.