PITTSFIELD — Five additional deaths from COVID-19 were reported at Hillcrest Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Tuesday, making it the site of the county’s deadliest outbreak since the pandemic began.
Those deaths, as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, raised to 29 the number of lives lost at Hillcrest, according to Lisa Gaudet, spokeswoman for Berkshire Healthcare Systems, which owns the facility.
And four residents of Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center in Lenox also have died, the first fatalities reported at that location, which also is owned by Berkshire Healthcare Systems.
A total of 105 Hillcrest residents are fighting the virus, 19 of whom are hospitalized, Gaudet said.
She reported a bright spot amid the ordeal that has taken such a toll on residents, their families and staff — 34 residents who had been suffering with the disease now have recovered.
As of Tuesday evening, 1,000 Pittsfield residents had become infected with the virus since the pandemic began, and 33 have died, according to the city’s COVID-19 Dashboard. There are 621 active infections.
The outbreak at Hillcrest, the state’s second-largest nursing home, with more than 200 residents, has become the deadliest nursing home outbreak in the county to date, and it appears to be the most deadly in the state this fall.
The death toll there has eclipsed that of Williamstown Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where 24 residents died after the coronavirus tore through that facility in the spring.
Williamstown Commons, also owned by Berkshire Healthcare Systems, largely had contained its rash of coronavirus cases by June. But, results Saturday revealed that three residents and one staff member had tested positive for the virus, Gaudet said.
At Kimball Farms, two residents died Nov. 29, she said. A third resident died Saturday, followed by another Sunday. Currently, 35 residents and nine staff members are infected with the virus.
Gaudet said new infections at Hillcrest are being reported at a slower rate, though she said that might be a function of the sheer number of residents who already had contracted the virus.
While Gaudet said the facility needs several weeks of data before drawing conclusions, she expressed hope that the picture might be beginning to improve.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that maybe we are turning the corner with infections,” she said.