AN AUGUST TO REMEMBER: In a big reveal Tuesday, Gov. Charlie Baker said that by Aug. 1, he expects to remove limits on how many people can gather. The Eagle has coverage of this elsewhere online and in print Wednesday. But in case you miss that, here are the basics:
– As of Aug. 1, there will be no gathering size limits and businesses of all kinds can return to normal capacity.
The timetable might move up, if the vaccine rollout reaches enough people.
– Starting Friday, face coverings will be required outside only when people cannot practice social distancing. Large venues will be able to increase to 25 percent capacity. Amusement parks can reopen May 10.
– On May 29, the start of Memorial Day weekend, up to 200 people will be able to gather indoors and 250 people outdoors. Street festivals, parades and agricultural festivals can return at half-capacity, Baker said. Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries and distilleries can reopen. Restaurant restrictions will also be relaxed.
BY THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County saw no new COVID-19 deaths as of Tuesday, leaving the total at 282 deaths, with the confirmed case count up just 2 to 6,226, the state Department of Public Health said. In fact, there were no COVID-19 deaths reported in any of the four western counties. A week ago, the death total was the same in Berkshire County and the case total was 6,095.
The DPH said 4 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, the lowest in months, pushing the statewide total to 17,215. Confirmed cases rose 825 to 642,036.
NUMBER OF ACTIVE CASES: 28,043 statewide, compared to 33,060 a week ago.
VACCINE REPORT I: Nearly 44,000 more Massachusetts adults became fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the latest daily update Tuesday from the DPH. The department's vaccination report listed 2,394,013 people who have received both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, representing nearly 44 percent of the state's roughly 5.5 million adults. There are about 1.2 million more people in Massachusetts who have already received one dose of Moderna or Pfizer and are still awaiting a second dose, according to DPH's data. Since the start of the vaccine rollout, a total of 6,826,740 vaccine doses have been shipped to the Bay State.
WESTERN MASS. PICTURE: The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up 3 to 2,435 (112); Hampshire, up 2 to 8,905 (290); Hampden, up 85 to 50,193 (1,487).
HOSPITAL CHECK: Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for 4 COVID-19 patients, up from 3 a week ago and down from 12 on March 28; no cases were reported at Fairview Hospital. Statewide, 628 people are hospitalized, down from 708 a week ago. Of those hospitalized, 158 are in ICU and 93 are on ventilators.
WIDER WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 148,174,562, with 3,126,052 deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen at least 32,161,109 cases and 573,201 deaths.
LEADING INDICATORS: The DPH provides the following statistics as indicators in the fight against coronavirus infection. Tuesday’s figures:
– Seven-day average of new confirmed cases: 920. That is down from 1,579 on Feb. 15.
– Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 1.71. That is down from 2.19 on Feb. 15.
– Seven-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 651. That is down from 1,258 on Feb. 15.
– Seven-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 8. That is down from 38.9 on Feb. 15.
VACCINE REPORT II: Around the country, health experts are grappling with a rising rate of Americans who never bothered to get their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. It appears Massachusetts has so far bucked that trend
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, more than 5 million people in the United States missed their second doses for Moderna or Pfizer, representing almost 8 percent of those who received a first shot.
Gov. Charlie Baker said this week that the vaccine hesitancy isn’t being seen in Massachusetts. "Here in Massachusetts, we're north of 99 percent of the population (that) gets their second vaccine. Part of that is because we do everything we can to encourage providers to book that second appointment while people are still there having their waiting period after their first one," Baker said.
The governor said that people in the Northeast, having seen the ravages of the disease, may be more inclined to respect its lethality and follow through with the two-dose regimen, for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
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 berkshireeagle.com.
COVID-19 WEBSITE AND INFOLINE: For information on vaccines and to schedule an appointment, when you are eligible, visit getvaccinatedberkshires.org.
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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Material from the State House News Service was included in this report. How can we make The Checkup better or more informative? Email us at email@example.com.