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Coronavirus cases mount at Williamstown nursing home

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WILLIAMSTOWN — Williamstown Commons has 11 residents who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a spokeswoman for the facility.

An additional staff member also tested positive, bringing the total to four caregivers at the facility to contract the virus, said Lisa Gaudet, communications vice president for Berkshire Healthcare Systems, which owns Williamstown Commons.

The news follows a statement earlier in the week about three staff people and one of the nursing home's residents testing positive. The facility had been closed to everyone except nonessential staff, and the facility had implemented rigorous screening measures at the door.

Now, Gaudet said the facility is working to contain the spread and directing more personal protective equipment to its staff. Staff members are moving residents with the virus into one unit, and the facility is conducting an investigation in attempts to identify a potential source.

Residents who have fevers or any other symptom that could be coronavirus-related, as well as any identified for testing through the facility's trace investigation, will likely be tested, she said.

The contagion has been difficult for everyone in the building, and for residents' families.

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"People are feeling very, very — it's very hard for everybody," Gaudet said. "It's just right now a very challenging situation."

The Eagle requested an interview with the Williamstown health inspector, Jeff Kennedy, about steps the town was taking to prevent further spread. He did not avail himself, but he offered this emailed statement. "The Board of Health is in discussions with the appropriate personnel and is aware of the ongoing conditions."

Gaudet said the staff is working hard. "I'm just amazed at the resiliency that these folks have."

And for anyone looking for ways to be productive during this pandemic, Gaudet offered an invitation for volunteers.

"I don't know what that help would look like," she said, but "if there are people that have an interest in helping us, we'd be interested in talking to them."

She directed people who are interested to call 413-445-9145.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-464-2859.


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