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The Checkup: Active virus cases heading wrong direction in Massachusetts

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

CASES ON RISE: The State House News Service reports that the number of active coronavirus cases rose 9 percent in a week. The count has been flat or rising in the last two months. That's significant, because families are preparing to send children back to school in many districts. Colin A. Young filed this dispatch:

"There were 4,804 people isolated with confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, up from 4,410 people in isolation carrying the highly-contagious virus as of Aug. 26. Between the [DPH] report published Aug. 26 and the report released Sept. 2, Massachusetts confirmed 2,341 new cases of COVID-19 — 300 cases more than were confirmed the previous week.

"Over the same time period, 1,849 people recovered from their bouts with the illness and 98 people died with the virus. When the state first began reporting the number of recoveries and of people under isolation on June 3, there were 7,012 people isolated with the virus. That number of active cases rose to 7,300 in the June 10 report and then fell until settling at 2,586 as of both July 8 and July 15. The number of active coronavirus cases has been climbing since."

THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County's death toll held at 46 as of Thursday, with the confirmed COVID-19 case count rising four to 669, the state Department of Public Health said.

The DPH said 17 new deaths were reported as of Thursday in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 8,870. Deaths including those listed as probably caused by COVID-19 is 9,077. Confirmed cases rose 393 to 119,819.

The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, 392 (66); Hampshire, up four to 1,180 (140); Hampden, up 12 to 7,698 (up three to 754).

According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, 105,769 people in Massachusetts with COVID-19 have recovered.

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As of Thursday, 24,635 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities, up three in a day. In all, 380 facilities have had at least one confirmed case and have seen 5,824 deaths linked to COVID-19, up nine since Wednesday.

BMC TEST RESULTS: As of Thursday, Berkshire Medical Center reported having tested 22,791 people, with 616 positive results and 21,911 negative. There were 264 pending test results.

BEYOND OUR BORDERS: Global cases as of Thursday totaled 24,140,922, with 865,467 deaths and 17,387,319 instances of recovery, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen 6,146,223 cases, 186,693 deaths and 2,266,957 recoveries, the school said as of Thursday.

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LEADING INDICATORS: The state Department of Public Health provides the following statistics daily 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: 0.9, unchanged

- Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 313, up 4 percent

- Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 2

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

WILLIAMS COLLEGE REPORTS: The college's daily dashboard said, as of Thursday, that the campus had administered 3,810 tests for COVID-19 since Aug. 17 and those produced one positive result.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Thursday, Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for one COVID-19 patient, not in intensive care. Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had no cases.

The patient count for other western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, three cases, one in ICU; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, no cases; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 15 cases, none in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, eight cases, three in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, three cases, none in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, one case.

Statewide, as of Thursday there were 312 people hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 174 people. Of those hospitalized, 61 are in ICU and 28 are on ventilators.

To date, 1,803,312 people in Massachusetts have been tested for the virus, according to Johns Hopkins.

To contribute news to The Checkup, please email lparnass@berkshireeagle.com or call 413-588-8341.


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