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With this daily feature, The Eagle runs down breaking local developments in the coronavirus crisis.

LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE (WAIT, IS THERE ONE?): To find good news Thursday, the state Department of Public Health had to look at something other than the numbers of new cases, that’s for sure.

The DPH said new cases nearly hit 1,000 statewide Thursday — 986, to be specific. Thirty people died.

As the “leading indicators” item notes below, all of the four ways the DPH tracks progress in fighting the coronavirus are looking pretty grim. That did not compel the DPH to ease up on the cheery green light signals it uses. The DPH reported Thursday that it sees a “positive trend” on the positive test rate, the number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals, the state’s testing capacity and its contact tracing capabilities. Look at the numbers and see if you agree.

PAST TWO WEEKS AT A GLANCE: In its weekly report Wednesday, the DPH provided this COVID-19 data for Berkshire County:

• Total number of cases: 742 (744 as of Thursday)

• Cases in past 14 days: 17

• Relative change: lower

• Total tests: 87,168

• Tests past 14 days: 15,646

• Number positive results past 14 days: 20

• Percent positive: 0.13 percent

• Change in percentage of positive cases: no change

THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County’s death toll stood at 51 as of Thursday, with the confirmed COVID-19 case count up two, to 744, the DPH said.

The DPH said 30 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 9,589. Deaths including those listed as probably caused by COVID-19 are 9,810. Confirmed cases rose 986, to 143,927.

The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up 11, to 456 (72); Hampshire, up 10, to 1,430 (153); Hampden, up 86, to 9,305 (up four, to 804).

According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, 118,892 people in Massachusetts with COVID-19 have recovered.

LONG-TERM CARE PICTURE: As of Thursday, 25,428 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities, up 54 in a day. In all, 390 facilities have had at least one confirmed case and have seen 6,314 deaths linked to COVID-19, an increase of eight.

EVIDENCE OF SURGE CLEAR: The new community-by-community data released Thursday shows that 77 state communities are listed as in the highest-risk category. That’s about one-fourth of all in the state.

The list includes 22 places that made the red category for the first time: Ashland, Avon, Boxford, Chicopee, Clinton, Gloucester, Lynnfield, Mattapoisett, Middleborough, Millville, Monson, Norwood, Raynham, Rochester, Scituate, Seekonk, Somerset, Swampscott, West Bridgewater, Westfield, Westport and Wrentham.

No Berkshire County communities fell into the red zone in the state’s color-coded map. The closest communities are Buckland, in Franklin County, and Holyoke and Westfield, in Hampden County.

BMC TEST RESULTS: As of Thursday, Berkshire Medical Center reported having tested 30,363 people, with 682 positive results, for a positivity rate of 2.2 percent. There were 263 pending test results.

WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 41,538,146, with 1,135,018 deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins. The U.S. has seen 8,395,100 cases and 222,925 deaths.

LEADING INDICATORS: The DPH provides the following statistics as indicators in the fight against coronavirus infection. Each provides a number and then a change in either the count or “lowest observed value.” Thursday’s figures:

• Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 1.4, up 76 percent (one-day rate of 5 percent);

• Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 519, up 72 percent;

• Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 4;

• Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 16, up 71 percent.

THE “SHE-CESSION”: In a talk with the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark said that women are feeling the impact of the pandemic-induced economic downturn more than men, calling it the “she-cession.”

Clark said women are shouldering a greater burden of today’s new economic pressures. She urged listeners to think of child care as a piece of public infrastructure that deserves to be funded, suggesting that it would help women hit hard by new challenges during the pandemic.

AT THE COLLEGES: The Williams College daily dashboard said the campus had administered 26,867 tests for COVID-19 since Aug. 17 and those produced five positive results. Also, 3,928 tests in the past seven days produced no positive results.

Bard College at Simon’s Rock said Thursday that 5,582 tests have been conducted to date, with two positive results.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Thursday, Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had no COVID-19 cases.

The patient count for other Western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, no cases; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, one case; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 23 cases; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, 10 cases; Holyoke Hospital, two cases; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, three cases. The numbers include confirmed and suspected cases.

Statewide, 521 people are hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 190 people. Of those hospitalized, 103 are in ICU and 38 are on ventilators.

To date, 5,366,394 tests for the virus have been conducted in Massachusetts, according to Johns Hopkins.

Larry Parnass can be reached at and


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.