EXTENDED P-EBT: Massachusetts has received federal approval to continue providing Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, or P-EBT, benefits to families this summer, a decision the Department of Transitional Assistance estimates will aid families of more than 600,000 school-aged children and 88,000 children under 6.
The federal program administered by the DTA and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education supports families whose children receive free or reduced-price school meals, and those who receive Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program benefits with children under age 6. Families in both groups will receive a total of $375 in summer P-EBT benefits, in two equal payments of $187.50. Students who graduated in 2020 or moved out of Massachusetts will not receive P-EBT benefits this summer, the DTA said.
This report was written by Katie Lannan of the State House News Service.
BY THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County saw no new COVID-19 deaths as of Thursday, leaving the total at 286 deaths, with the confirmed case count up five to 6,526, the state Department of Public Health said. A week ago, the death total was 286 and the case total was 6,502. A month ago, the death total was 282 and the case total was 6,226.
The DPH said nine new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 17,491. Confirmed cases rose 215 to 660,513.
NUMBER OF ACTIVE CASES: 7,843 statewide, compared to 11,507 a week ago.
WESTERN MASS. PICTURE: The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up 1 to 2,565 (up 1 to 114); Hampshire, 9,137 (up 1 to 297); Hampden, up 20 to 52,133 (up 3 to 1,520).
HOSPITAL CHECK: Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for one COVID-19 patient; no cases were reported at Fairview Hospital.
Statewide, 253 people are hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, 79 are in ICU and 42 are on ventilators.
WIDER WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 168,590,813, with 3,502,700 deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen at least 33,209,921 cases and 593,108 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: 207.9. That is down from 1,579 on Feb. 15.
– Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 0.80 percent. That is down from 2.19 percent on Feb. 15.
– Seven-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 273.9. That is down from 1,258 on Feb. 15.
– Seven-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 6.1. That is down from 38.9 on Feb. 15.
A NEW WEEKLY CHECKUP: As COVID-19 case numbers continue to drop in Massachusetts and Berkshire County, and with vaccines now widely available, The Checkup will become a weekly feature of The Eagle, starting Saturday, May 29. If conditions with the pandemic change for the worse, we will bring back the daily column on an as-needed basis. Reporters with The Eagle will continue to cover the pandemic in news stories, as they have since The Checkup debuted in March 2020.
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 may have been included in this report. How can we make The Checkup better or more informative? Email us at email@example.com.