UMass pond

A spike in COVID-19 cases in Amherst has been linked to an outdoor student gathering.

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

SEEING RED IN AMHERST: Something isn’t working in Amherst, home of the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts. In the most recent tally from the state Department of Public Health, the number of COVID-19 cases to date increased 80 percent in 14 days.

That was enough to put the town in the red zone in the state’s coronavirus map. Cases rose from 139 to 251. As of Monday, they stood at 253; the count in Hampshire County is 1,345.

Paul Bockelman, the Amherst town manager, acknowledged the problem. “We, as a community – all members of our community – must re-double our efforts to fight the spread” of COVID-19,” he said in a statement.

Bockelman said that landing in the red zone has “far-reaching consequences” for the town.

The spike has been linked to a large outdoor student gathering Sept. 18. The town’s health director told officials at a recent meeting that eight students who attended that gathering tested positive. Cases increased after that, she said.

THE NUMBERS: To date, 1,064 people have died of COVID-19 in the state’s four western counties. Berkshire County’s death toll stood Monday at 51, with the confirmed COVID-19 case count at 730, the state Department of Public Health said.

The DPH said 13 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 9,401. Deaths including those listed as probably caused by COVID-19 is 9,617. Confirmed cases rose 765 to 136,933.

The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, 426 (71); Hampshire, up three to 1,359 (150); Hampden, up 64 to 8,818 (792).

According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, 116,364 people in Massachusetts with COVID-19 have recovered.

LONG-TERM CARE PICTURE: As of Monday, 25,202 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities. In all, 388 facilities have had at least one confirmed case and have seen 6,205 deaths linked to COVID-19, a one-day increase of 16.

WORLD OF COVID: Global cases top 37,686,296, with 1,078,699 deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen 7,792,816 cases and 214,985 deaths.

LEADING INDICATORS: The state Department of Public Health 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.” Monday’s figures:

• Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 1.1, up 38 percent. (The one-day count for individuals Monday was 3.2 percent.)

• Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 514, up 70 percent

• Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 1

• Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 13, up 39 percent

INDOOR VISITS RESUME AT HOLYOKE SOLDIERS’ HOME: For the second week, visitors are again allowed inside the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, the state-run center that saw at least 76 COVID-19 deaths in the early days of the pandemic.

Indoor visits for families resumed Oct. 6. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that Cheryl Turgeon had an emotional in-person reunion with her father, Dennis Thresher, who is 90. She had not been inside to visit her father since March and hadn’t been able to hug him for months, despite outdoor visits.

“It’s wonderful news, it really is,” Turgeon told the paper. “I’m just happy that it’s happening.”

Visitors are screened on arrival and must be shown to have normal body temperatures. The visits take place in the home’s lobby, in four areas, between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

AT THE COLLEGES: The Williams College daily dashboard said the campus had administered 21,080 tests for COVID-19 since Aug. 17 and those produced five positive results. Also, 3,865 tests in the last seven days produced no positive results.

No new data was released Monday by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts or Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Monday, 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, 15 cases; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, three cases; Holyoke Hospital, five cases; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, two cases. The numbers include both confirmed and suspected cases.

Statewide, 501 people are hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 171 people. Of those hospitalized, 82 are in ICU and 32 are on ventilators.

To date, 4,748,004 people in Massachusetts have been tested for the virus, according to Johns Hopkins.

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Investigations editor

Larry Parnass 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, CommonWealth Magazine and with the Reuters news service.