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Williams College students, except those with medical or religious exemptions, will need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination before returning to campus in the fall.

WILLIAMS MANDATE: Williams College will require students to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 ahead of the 2021 fall semester, with exceptions only for medical or religious reasons.

President of the College Maud S. Mandel in the Friday announcement cited public health research that has found vaccination to reduce risk of hospitalization and death. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will become part of the student registration process beginning Aug. 1.

Mandel said the college has yet to make a decision on whether to require faculty and staff vaccinations, although it encourages all to do so. Staff and faculty who do not have a formal exemption but choose not to be vaccinated “will not be eligible for workplace accommodations,” Mandel said.

BY THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County saw 20 new COVID-19 cases as of Friday, for a new total of 6,164 cases, the state Department of Public Health said. To date, 282 people in the county have died of COVID-19, with no new deaths in the past week. A week ago, the case total was 6,023. A month ago, the death total was 269 and the case total was 5,211.

The DPH said 13 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 17,181. Confirmed cases rose 1,452 to 637,928.


NUMBER OF ACTIVE CASES: 30,262 statewide, compared to 35,100 a week ago; 764 active cases in Pittsfield, compared to 691 a week ago; 414 Pittsfield households are in quarantine. It was 368 a week ago.

WESTERN MASS. PICTURE: The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up 12 to 2,413 (112); Hampshire, up 23 to 8,859 (290); Hampden, up 172 to 49,783 (up 1 to 1,485).

HOSPITAL CHECK: Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for five COVID-19 patients; no patients were recorded at Fairview Hospital.

Statewide, 644 people are hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, 156 are in ICU and 89 are on ventilators.

WIDER WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 145,098,784, with 3,077,900 deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen at least 31,972,888 cases and 571,001 deaths.

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

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– Seven-day average of new confirmed cases: 1,012.3. That is down from 1,579 on Feb. 15.

– Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 2.03 percent. That is down from 2.19 percent on Feb. 15.

– Seven-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 685.1. That is down from 1,258 on Feb. 15.

– Seven-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 9.0. That is down from 38.9 on Feb. 15.


AT THE COLLEGES: Local colleges report the following number of cases in the past week of reported testing: 

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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Danny Jin can be reached at and 413-496-6221.

Statehouse Reporter

Danny Jin is the Eagle's Statehouse reporter. A graduate of Williams College, he previously interned at the Eagle and The Christian Science Monitor. Danny can be reached at or on Twitter at @djinreports.