The Checkup: Berkshire nursing homes report negative test results

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

THE NUMBERS: The death toll for Berkshire County held at 37 for the eighth day and the county added just one new case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing a new total of 486.

Across the state, 174 new deaths were disclosed by the Department of Public Health, for a total now of 5,315. The case count rose by 1,165 to 80,497.

Of all those killed by the disease as of Wednesday, 3,236 of them — or 60.8 percent — lived in long-term care facilities. Across the state, 338 such facilities have reported having at least one COVID-19 case.

THE NUMBERS, PART 2: For the fifth time, the DPH provided a weekly breakdown on confirmed coronavirus cases by town.

In the Berkshires, the numbers rose modestly in 10 of 32 communities and remained the same in the rest.

Communities with the highest overall number of infections are Pittsfield (from 138 to 147 cases in a week); Williamstown (from 80 to 81); Great Barrington (from 49 to 51); North Adams (from 43 to 45); and Adams (from 32 to 33).

Other municipalities posting increases from May 6 to May 13 are Becket (11 to 12), Dalton (7 to 9); Lanesborough (6 to 7); Sheffield (13 to 15); and Stockbridge (11 to 14).

The case numbers released Wednesday were unchanged for Alford (0), Cheshire (fewer than 5), Clarksburg (7), Egremont (5), Florida (fewer than 5), Hancock (fewer than 5), Hinsdale (fewer than 5), Lee (16), Lenox (12), Monterey (0), Mt. Washington (0), New Ashford (0), New Marlborough (fewer than 5), Otis (fewer than 5), Peru (fewer than 5), Richmond (5), Sandisfield (fewer than 5), Savoy (fewer than 5), Tyringham (fewer than 5), Washington (fewer than 5), West Stockbridge (fewer than 5), and Windsor (0).

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The number of cases statewide rose from 72,025 to 80,497 in the week.

NURSING HOMES REPORT NEGATIVE TEST RESULTS: Two nursing facilities in Berkshire County report that recent tests of all residents for COVID-19 were negative.

The testing was conducted at the 89-bed Craneville Place in Dalton and at the 115-bed Springside Rehab and Skilled Care Center in Pittsfield.

Tina Rootes-Hunter, executive director at Craneville Place, said in a release that the facility had postponed group activities to prevent contagion. It also halted visits from outside beginning in March, as many such places did, and limited what could come in.

Christina Pringle, executive director at Springside, cited "diligent cleaning" and other infection-control practices. She said the center's goal is to be open and "transparent" about conditions and to keep in close touch with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the state Department of Public Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep up on best practices, which she noted "can change on a daily basis."

Leaders of both facilities acknowledged that tests provide a point-in-time measure. They pledged in a news release to continue to monitor for the presence of the disease and to "react aggressively."

As of Wednesday, the DPH reported that only three nursing facilities in Berkshire County have disclosed two or more "known cases" of the coronavirus. They are Fairview Commons in Great Barrington, Timberlyn Heights in Great Barrington and Williamstown Commons in Williamstown.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Wednesday, Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for five patients, two of them in intensive care. Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had one case, not in the ICU.

The COVID-19 patient count for other western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, 27 cases, three in ICU; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, seven cases, one in ICU; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 93 cases, 17 in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, 26 cases, 11 in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, 22 cases, two in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, three cases, none in ICU.

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


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