The Checkup: AG clarifies rules on business eviction, foreclosure moratorium

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

HEALEY ADDRESSES EVICTIONS, FORECLOSURES: Attorney General Maura Healey clarified this week that commercial properties, as well as residences, fall under the temporary ban on evictions and foreclosures.

As of now, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures is in effect through Oct. 17.

Healey noted that business tenants still are obligated, eventually, to pay rent. She said landlords still can end leases for nonperforming tenants, as well as send notices saying they must leave. They just can't move toward eviction, if it comes to that, until the moratorium lapses.

THE NUMBERS: The state Department of Public Health said Friday that 21 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 8,568. The number of confirmed cases rose 319, to 113,517.

The DPH no longer is listing daily deaths by community. Those figures now are released Wednesdays and cover the week before.

As of Friday, 24,478 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities. In all, 378 facilities have had at least one confirmed case, an increase of one since Thursday, and have seen 5,634 deaths linked to COVID-19, up 13 in a day. That means that all but one of the deaths reported Friday occurred in long-term care settings.

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LEADING INDICATORS: The DPH provides the following statistics daily as indicators in the fight against coronavirus infection. Each provides a number and then, in a new reporting format, a change in either the count or "lowest observed value." (Previously, the DPH compared all figures to April 15 data.)

- Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 1.4, unchanged;

- Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 407, up 13 percent;

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- Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 4, up 4;

- Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 12, up 13 percent.

TWO WEEK LOOKBACK: The Eagle also is calculating results for a 14-day lookback on some leading indicators. As of Friday, positive tests over a seven-day period showed a 34.5 percent decline from two weeks ago. The three-day average of the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals represented a 10.6 percent increase. The three-day average of confirmed COVID-19 deaths fell 7.69 percent from two weeks ago.

DENTISTS BACK IN THE GAME: Unlike the World Health Organization, which recommends postponing dental care for the time being, the Massachusetts Dental Society said this week that it is safe to resume routine and emergency treatments, provided that local and state agencies support it. (And that your dentist is seeing patients.)

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"Dentists are experts in infection control and Massachusetts dentists are following the latest guidance from U.S. and state public health entities," said Dr. MaryJane Hanlon, the society's president. "Until the data tells us otherwise, patients should feel safe in visiting their dentist for routine dental appointments and emergency care."

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Friday, Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for no patients, as did Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington.

The COVID-19 patient count for other Western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, two cases, both in ICU; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, no cases; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 25 cases, two in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, three cases, two in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, three cases, one in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, no cases.

The numbers include confirmed and suspected cases.

Statewide, as of Friday there were 398 people hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 178 people. Of those hospitalized, 58 are in ICU and 31 are on ventilators.

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


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