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NEW INFECTIONS HITTING YOUNGER PEOPLE: According to the State House News Service: Almost 40 percent of the new COVID-19 cases recorded in Massachusetts in the past two weeks were among people in their 20s and 30s, according to Department of Public Health data updated Wednesday.

Of the 26,716 cases, the DPH said 5,942 were people in their 20s and 4,419 were people in their 30s. Youth between the ages of 10-19 accounted for 4,512 cases, and 2,704 cases were in kids age 9 and younger.

Numbers were lower at the other end of the age spectrum, with 287 cases among people 80 and older, 546 among people in their 70s, and 1,924 among people in their 60s during the same time period.

BY THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County saw one new COVID-19 death as of Wednesday, lifting the number of deaths during the pandemic to 282, with the confirmed case count up 30 to 5,955, the state Department of Public Health said. A week ago, the death total was 281 and the case total was 5,735. A month ago, the death total was 265 and the case total was 4,978.

The DPH said 14 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 17,082. Confirmed cases rose 2,004 to 624,666.

NUMBER OF ACTIVE CASES: 35,786 statewide, just a bit more than a week ago, when the count was 35,075; 676 active cases in Pittsfield, compared to 535 a week ago; 354 Pittsfield households are in quarantine. It was 291 a week ago.

WESTERN MASS. PICTURE: The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up 8 to 2,341 (110); Hampshire, up 22 to 8,683 (284); Hampden, up 184 to 48,320 (up 1 to 1,472).

HOSPITAL CHECK: Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for 7 COVID-19 patients, up from 4 a week ago and 3 a month ago; no cases were reported at Fairview Hospital. Statewide, 711 people are hospitalized, down from 755 a week ago. Of those hospitalized, 159 are in ICU and 101 are on ventilators.

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WIDER WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 137,874,646, with 2,965,750 deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen at least 31,413,970 cases and 564,271 deaths.

PRE-REGISTRATION SYSTEM? NO THANKS, MANY SAY: In a dispatch from the State House News Service, Chris Lisinski writes:

About one in five residents who pre-registered for a COVID-19 vaccine at one of the state's mass vaccination sites appear to have gone elsewhere to receive their doses. Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday that about 300,000 of the roughly 1.5 million adults who filled out a pre-registration form withdrew afterward, indicating they were instead able to find a slot at a pharmacy, regional collaborative or another location. "That says to us they went and got an appointment somewhere else," Baker said. For those who are eligible to receive vaccines, he said it typically takes two to three weeks after registration to receive an alert about an appointment, depending on location. He also said "a bunch of people" do not book the first appointment when alerted by the system but secure it on a second offering. "Pre-registration, we've discovered, for a lot of people is what I would call the safety valve: they pre-register, and while they wait to hear back from the pre-registration system, they continue to chase appointments," Baker said.

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LEADING INDICATORS: The DPH provides the following statistics as indicators in the fight against coronavirus infection. Wednesday’s figures:

– Seven-day average of new confirmed cases: 1,439. That is down from 1,579 on Feb. 15.

– Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 2.39. That is up from 2.19 on Feb. 15.

– Seven-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 713.5. That is down from 1,258 on Feb. 15.

– Seven-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 8.9. That is substantially down from 38.9 on Feb. 15.

JUST THE FAQS: The Berkshire Eagle is regularly updating answers to frequently asked questions about access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit the Vax FAQs in the Coronavirus section on the home page at

COVID-19 WEBSITE AND INFOLINE: For information on vaccines and to schedule an appointment, when you are eligible, visit The city of Pittsfield is providing access by phone to weekly updates about access to the novel coronavirus vaccine in the city and in Berkshire County. A recorded message is posted at 413-449-5575.

INFORMATION ON 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 can also be obtained through CVS by filling out a form online.

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Larry Parnass can be reached at 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.