Virus Outbreak US (copy)

THE 'JOINTS FOR JABS' CAMPAIGN: A man wearing a cannabis costume hands out marijuana cigarettes in New York last week during a "Joints for Jabs" event. Adults who showed their COVID-19 vaccination cards received a free joint. Places around the U.S. are offering incentives to try to energize the nation’s slowing vaccination drive and get reluctant Americans to roll up their sleeves. The lures have included free beer, pot and doughnuts; savings bonds; and a raffle ticket for a snowmobile. 

ADAMS OUT OF 'RED' STATUS: The town of Adams came off the state’s highest-risk status in the latest 14-day report, dropping to yellow, where it joined Adams, Dalton and Pittsfield. Those three communities were already in the yellow category, indicating a concerning level of continuing infections.

North Adams saw 49 cases in those two weeks; Adams, 25; Dalton, 19; and Pittsfield, 140

As of Thursday, there are now 26 cities and towns at the highest risk for COVID-19 transmission, down from the 48 communities "in the red" last week. The 26 “red” communities are: Acushnet, Berkley, Brockton, Chicopee, Dracut, Edgartown, Fall River, Hampden, Haverhill, Lawrence, Littleton, Lowell, Lynn, Methuen, Nantucket, New Bedford, Palmer, Revere, Southbridge, Southwick, Springfield, Taunton, Tisbury, Wareham, Winchendon and Yarmouth, the State House News Service reports.

BY THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County saw no new COVID-19 deaths as of Thursday, leaving the total at 282 deaths, with the confirmed case count up 23 in a day to 6,276, the state Department of Public Health said. A week ago, the death total was the same, 282, and the case total was 6,144. A month ago, the death total was 275 and the case total was 5,441. The DPH said 16 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 17,243. Confirmed cases rose 1,260 to 644,688.

NUMBER OF ACTIVE CASES: 26,410 statewide, compared to 32,134on April 21.

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COMMUNITY DATA: Here are this week’s figures from the DPH on confirmed coronavirus cases by city and town. In alphabetical order, this lists all Berkshire County communities. The first number is the total number of cases during the pandemic. The second is the number of new cases in the last 14 days.

Adams: 327, 25

Alford: Fewer than 5, 0

Becket: 67, fewer than 5

Cheshire: 117, 6

Clarksburg: 42, fewer than 5

Dalton: 289, 19

Egremont: 16, 0

Florida: 16, fewer than 5

Great Barrington: 437, 9

Hancock: 17, 0

Hinsdale: 69, 0

Lanesborough: 110, 8

Lee: 331, 6

Lenox: 232, 8

Monterey: 18, 0

Mount Washington: 7, 0

New Ashford: Fewer than 5, 0

New Marlborough: 23, 0

North Adams: 556, 49

Otis: 63, 8

Peru: 10, 0

Pittsfield: 2,852, 140

Richmond: 42, 0

Sandisfield: 38, 5

Savoy: 16, 0

Sheffield: 112, 5

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Stockbridge: 69, fewer than 5

Tyringham: 8, 0

Washington: 9, 0

West Stockbridge: 40, 0

Williamstown: 292, 8

Windsor: 22, 0

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LAST TWO WEEKS AT A GLANCE: In its weekly report Thursday, the state Department of Public Health provided this COVID-19 data for Berkshire County as of Tuesday.

Total number of cases: 6,253 (6,276 now)

Case in last 14 days: 307

Relative change: Lower

Total tests: 365,573

Tests last 14 days: 20,796

Number positive results last 14 days: 331

Percent positive: 1.59 percent

Change in percentage of positive cases: Lower

WESTERN MASS. PICTURE: The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up 8 to 2,451 (up 1 to 113); Hampshire, up 20 to 8,937 (290); Hampden, up 134 to 50,485 (up 1 to 1,490).

VACCINE REPORT: Clinics, providers, pharmacies and mass vaccination sites reported administering 85,896 doses of COVID-19 vaccines Wednesday, the DPH said Thursday. The doses were split almost 50/50 between initial doses and final doses, DPH said. There were 42,069 newly-administered first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, and 43,827 newly-reported second Moderna or Pfizer doses plus single-dose Johnson & Johnson shots. Massachusetts now has 2,479,914 people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and the state has administered 5,998,129 total doses.

HOSPITAL CHECK: Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for 7 COVID-19 patients, up from 2 a week ago and down from 16 on April 21; no cases were reported at Fairview Hospital. Statewide, 590 people are hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, 155 are in ICU and 89 are on ventilators.

WIDER WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 149,927,702, with 3,156,263 deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen at least 32,272,447 cases and 574,947 deaths.

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

– Seven-day average of new confirmed cases: 895. That is down from 1,579 on Feb. 15.

– Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 1.63. That is down from 2.19 on Feb. 15.

– Seven-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 625. That is down from 1,258 on Feb. 15.

– Seven-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 9. That is 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 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 lparnass@berkshireeagle.com.

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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.