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With this daily feature, The Eagle runs down breaking local developments in the coronavirus crisis.

BAD WEEK BEYOND BERKSHIRE COUNTY: The State House News Service reports: “More than 700 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Massachusetts on Friday and the state heads into the weekend with a seven-day average positive test rate that’s up more than 80 percent from about three weeks ago.”

That was Friday, and you’ll find more specifics below. Now, here’s the news service’s lowdown from Thursday: “After reaching a new high last week, the number of people with active cases of the highly contagious coronavirus in Massachusetts shot up by about 20 percent over the last seven days, the Department of Public Health said. There were 9,762 people in isolation with test-confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, DPH reported, up from 8,162 the week before and from 6,744 two weeks ago.”

That number of people in isolation sets a record since the DPH began reporting on recoveries and isolation in June. The number of active coronavirus cases has increased each week since July 15.

Clearly, a tough week for the people of Massachusetts. Berkshire County remains a bright spot, though, with no one hospitalized in Berkshire, Hampshire or Franklin counties as of Friday. The picture in Hampden County is different. The county, home to Springfield, lost two people to the disease in the past 24 hours and saw a one-day increase of 50 cases, to 8,971.

THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County’s death toll held steady at 51 as of Friday, with the confirmed COVID-19 case count at 735, the state DPH said.

The DPH said 30 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 9,482. Deaths including those listed as probably caused by COVID-19 are 9,702. Confirmed cases rose 701, to 139,353.

The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up six, to 432 (71); Hampshire, up 10, to 1,386 (152); Hampden, up 50, to 8,971 (up two, to 796). According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, 118,892 people in Massachusetts with COVID-19 have recovered.

A FEW MORE NUMBERS: The seven-day average positive molecular test rate climbed up to 1.4 percent in Friday’s DPH report. There were 4,215 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Massachusetts over the past week, according to the department’s Wednesday report. That’s about 100 more than were confirmed the previous seven days. In all, 2,528 people recovered from the virus and 87 people died. The number of active cases — people who have been confirmed to have the contagious COVID-19 — grew by 1,600 people.

LONG-TERM CARE PICTURE: As of Friday, 25,266 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities, a one-day increase of 20. In all, 389 facilities have had at least one confirmed case and have seen 6,254 deaths linked to COVID-19, up 18.

BMC TEST RESULTS: Berkshire Medical Center did not update its online statistics as of 6:30 p.m. Friday. As of Thursday, it had tested 29,358 people, with 675 positive results.

WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 39,131,360, with 1,101,083 deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins. The U.S. has seen 8,030,623 cases and 218,330 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 weighted average of positive test rate: 1.4, up 82 percent (one-day rate of 5.8 percent);

• Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 505, up 67 percent;

• Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 2;

• Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 18, up 96 percent.

SOLDIERS’ HOME OFFICIALS FACE ARRAIGNMENTS: In early November, two former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home officials will be arraigned on felony charges in the COVID-19 outbreak at the facility, which led to the death of at least 76 residents. Former Superintendent Bennett Walsh and David Clinton, the former medical director, have been charged with five counts of caretaker neglect of an elder or disabled person and five counts of causing or permitting serious bodily injury to an elder or disabled person. Other inquiries are underway.

AT THE COLLEGES: The Williams College daily dashboard said the campus had administered 23,210 tests for COVID-19 since Aug. 17 and those produced five positive results. Also, 3,830 tests in the past seven days produced no positive results. The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts said Wednesday it has conducted 2,573 tests with three positive results. Bard College at Simon’s Rock said a week ago that it has conducted 4,587 tests with two positive results.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Friday, Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had no COVID-19 cases.

The patient count for other Western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, no cases; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, no cases; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 13 cases; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, eight cases; Holyoke Hospital, five cases; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, three cases. The numbers include confirmed and suspected cases.

Statewide, 513 people are hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 204 people. Of those hospitalized, 77 are in ICU and 33 are on ventilators. To date, more than 4,955,322 people in Massachusetts have been tested for the virus, according to Johns Hopkins.

Material from the State House News Service was included in this report. 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.


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