incidence

VARIANT: There have been 102 cases of the P.1 COVID-19 variant in Massachusetts as of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Berkshire County has seen one case of the variant as of Wednesday, The Boston Globe reports. Many of the Massachusetts cases have been identified in Barnstable County, including through a Cape Cod cluster. 

“But how much exactly should we worry, given that so many in this state have already been vaccinated or are on the cusp of eligibility?” the Globe writes in its report. “The truth is, it’s hard to tell, even for the experts.”

The number of Massachusetts cases ranks ahead of cases any other state has seen of the variant, which officials fear is more contagious and can reinfect people who have overcome an older strain of the virus. Scientists expect vaccines to be effective against the variant, which was first identified in Brazil, although they may be less effective on it than on other strains.

Researchers are continuing to investigate the variant and its possible implications.

BY THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County saw 39 new COVID-19 cases as of Friday, for a new total of 5,809 cases, the state Department of Public Health said. The death total remained at 281.

The DPH said nine new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 17,031. Confirmed cases rose 2,184 to 615,947.

CASES

NUMBER OF ACTIVE CASES: 35,475 statewide; 597 active cases in Pittsfield; 291 Pittsfield households are in quarantine. 

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: 292, 39
  • Alford: fewer than 5, 0
  • Becket: 65, 9
  • Cheshire: 106, 8
  • Clarksburg: 38, fewer than 5
  • Dalton: 263, 18
  • Egremont: 16, fewer than 5
  • Florida: 11, fewer than 5
  • Great Barrington: 423, 18
  • Hancock: 17, fewer than 5
  • Hinsdale: 69, fewer than 5
  • Lanesborough: 100, fewer than 5
  • Lee: 315, 24
  • Lenox: 223, 13
  • Monterey: 18, 0
  • Mount Washington: 7, 0 
  • New Ashford: fewer than 5, 0 
  • New Marlborough: 23, 0
  • North Adams: 463, 59
  • Otis: 52, fewer than 5
  • Peru: 10, 0
  • Pittsfield: 2,609, 230 
  • Richmond: 42, fewer than 5
  • Sandisfield: 31, fewer than 5
  • Savoy: 15, fewer than 5
  • Sheffield: 102, 13
  • Stockbridge: 65, fewer than 5
  • Tyringham: 8, 0
  • Washington:7, fewer than 5
  • West Stockbridge: 40, 5
  • Williamstown: 277, 33
  • Windsor: 22, fewer than 5

The state considers Adams and Williamstown to be high risk for COVID-19 transmission.

WESTERN MASS. PICTURE: The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up 10 to 2,301 (110); Hampshire, up 20 to 8,571 (284); Hampden, up 188 to 47,417 (up 2 to 1,467).

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

Statewide, 711 people are hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, 174 are in ICU and 106 are on ventilators.

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WIDER WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 134,341,542, with 2,908,375 deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen at least 31,077,529 cases and 560,993 deaths.

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

– Seven-day average of new confirmed cases: 1,408.7. That is down from 1,579 on Feb. 15.

– Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 2.38 percent. That is up from 2.19 on Feb. 15.

– Seven-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 720. That is down from 1,258 on Feb. 15.

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

AT THE COLLEGES: Local colleges report the following number of cases: 

  • Williams College: Past week: two positive results based on 4,077 tests as of Friday.  
  • MCLA: Past week: no positive results based on 183 tests as of Friday. 
  • Bard College at Simon's Rock: Past week: no positive results based on 469 tests as of Monday. 

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. 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 djin@berkshireeagle.com 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 djin@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter at @djinreports.