The Checkup: Confirmed Berkshire COVID-19 cases hold at just under 500

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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 13th day as of Monday and the county saw no new cases of COVID-19. The total remained at 497.

Across the state, 65 new deaths were reported by the Department of Public Health, for a total now of 5,862. The case count rose by 1,042 to 87,052.

COVID-19 DEATHS BY GENDER: As of Monday, 51.6 percent of those who have died of COVID-19 in Massachusetts have been female. That stat runs counter to which gender the coronavirus is killing the most in the U.S. and around the world. Nationally, more men than women are dying of the disease. The numbers break down to 55 percent men, 45 percent women in the U.S. tally.

One reason that may be different in Massachusetts is that women tend to live longer than men, and for that reason women often outnumber men in nursing homes, The Boston Globe reports.

Long-term care facilities have been hit hard by the pandemic. In the case of Williamstown Commons, deaths by women far outnumber deaths by men. According to certificates of death obtained by The Eagle, between March 28 and April 19, the deaths of 16 residents of the Williamstown facility were linked to COVID-19. Of those 16, 11 were women.

One reason that women are generally less affected by the coronavirus, researchers have proposed, is that they typically have stronger immune responses. But the full picture is complex and involves factors including behavior, occupation and underlying biology.

In the states of New York and California, women make up a smaller percentage of those killed: 41.6 percent in New York and 43.3 percent in California.

The percentage of COVID-19 victims in Connecticut who have been female (50.4) is closer to the experience in Massachusetts.

RESTRICTIONS ON HOSPITAL VISITS: In an item Saturday, The Checkup provided a list of restrictions that face visitors to Berkshire Medical Center. The list, however, applied only to those who have already cleared a different set of hurdles in place to avoid contagion during the pandemic.

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These basic rules on visits have been in place since March, the hospital says:

- No visitors under the age of 18.

- No visitors are allowed in emergency department treatment areas, one visitor is allowed in the waiting area per patient.

- No visitors are allowed in medical/surgical units or in the intensive care unit.

- In the hospital's Mother Baby Unit: One adult birth partner is allowed per patient. The partner must wear a surgical mask at all times.

- Pediatric unit: One parent is allowed per patient.

- Behavioral health: One adult visitor is allowed per patient, with exceptions and screening based on the decision of the provider.

- End-of-life circumstances: The number of adult visitors allowed is based on specific circumstances, the hospital says.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Monday, Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for three patients, two of them in intensive care. Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had no cases.

The COVID-19 patient count for other western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, 26 cases, four in ICU; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, five cases, none in ICU; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 81 cases, 12 in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, 29 cases, nine in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, 16 cases, two in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, three cases, none in ICU.

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


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