School-related COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward in Massachusetts.
The 620 new cases recorded in the past week include 572 among students and 48 staff, down from the 669 new cases reported the week before.
The decrease in new school cases comes as the overall rate of new cases in Massachusetts has declined and vaccinations have increased.
The 337 new cases reported Friday were the lowest number reported since Sept. 22. Meanwhile, more than 7 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Massachusetts as of Friday.
Some are expecting Gov. Charlie Baker to announce a change to the state’s mask mandate early this week, given that the public health picture has improved and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has offered new guidance that fully vaccinated people can safely gather indoors without masks.
BY THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County saw no new COVID-19 deaths as of Sunday, leaving the death total at 285, with the confirmed case count up seven to 6,485, the state Department of Public Health said. A week ago, the death total was 283 and the case total was 6,412. A month ago, the death total was 282 and the case total was 6,023.
The DPH said five new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 17,394. Confirmed cases rose 494 to 656,838.
NUMBER OF ACTIVE CASES: 14,146 statewide, compared to 19,784 a week ago.
WESTERN MASS. PICTURE: The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up 2 to 2,547 (113); Hampshire, up 5 to 9,103 (294); Hampden, up 45 to 51,771 (up 3 to 1,510).
WIDER WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 162,767,496, with 3,374,566 deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen at least 32,939,906 cases and 585,965 deaths.
LEADING INDICATORS: The DPH provides the following statistics as indicators in the fight against coronavirus infection. Sunday’s figures:
– Seven-day average of new confirmed cases: 416.3. That is down from 1,579 on Feb. 15.
– Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 1.00 percent. That is down from 2.19 percent on Feb. 15.
– Seven-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 398.0. That is down from 1,258 on Feb. 15.
– Seven-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 5.9. 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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