The Checkup: Death brings virus fatalities in Berkshire County to 37

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

THE NUMBERS: Another resident of Berkshire County has died of COVID-19, officials said Wednesday, lifting the total to 37.

Statewide, 208 new deaths were reported by the state Department of Public Health, for a total of 4,420 since the pandemic began. The number of COVID-19 cases in the Berkshires is now at 461, up four from Tuesday. There were also 1,754 new cases reported in Massachusetts, bringing the statewide total to 72,025.

Across the U.S., there have been 70,802 deaths and 1,193,813 cases of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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

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

Communities with the highest overall number of infections are Pittsfield (from 131 to 138 cases in a week); Williamstown (from 79 to 80); Great Barrington (from 46 to 49) and North Adams (from 42 to 43).

Other municipalities posting increases from April 29 to May 6 are Dalton (6 to 7); Lanesborough (5 to 6); Lee (15 to 16); Sheffield (11 to 13); and Stockbridge (10 to 11).

The case numbers released Wednesday were unchanged for Adams (32), Alford (0), Becket (11), Cheshire (fewer than 5), Clarksburg (7), Egremont (fewer than 5), Florida (fewer than 5), Hancock (fewer than 5), Hinsdale (fewer than 5), Lenox (12), Monterey (0), Mount 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).

The number of cases statewide rose from 60,265 to 72,025 in the week.

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TAKING BUSINESS TEMPERATURES: Question No. 8 in a new survey about pandemic business life in North Adams asks people to rate how hard it has been to operate remotely.

The scale starts at "impossible," then climbs, dismally, through "extremely difficult," "difficult," "somewhat difficult" and then, as clouds miraculously part, "easy." If that last option is really the case, more power to you — and why are you paying rent?

The survey asks a ton of interesting and relevant questions, all designed to help a few organization get a bead on ways to help local business owners. The form can be found at tinyurl.com/y7p5eg9k.

The survey is the handiwork of the North Adams Wayfinding Project, which started out this year by coaching small businesses on ways to be discovered online. Its new focus: helping outfits survive what's about to become, if it isn't already, the coronavirus recession. The effort is aided by state funding and is a cooperative effort linking the city, the North Adams Chamber of Commerce and the Franklin County Community Development Corp.

ANOTHER MASK GIVEAWAY: Another Berkshires business plans a free distribution of protective masks to people in Pittsfield and Great Barrington.

On Friday, Wheeler & Taylor Insurance will provide 1,000 masks at its Great Barrington office at 333 Main St. and its Pittsfield office at 402 East St., from 10 a.m. until supplies are gone at both locations. People are asked to pull cars in for a drive-thru distribution.

As reported in this space Wednesday, Berkshire Money Management will hand out 5,000 free masks from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday at 161 Main St. in Dalton.

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 two cases, none in ICU.

The COVID-19 patient count for other Western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, 19 cases, five in ICU; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, eight cases, one in ICU; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 90 cases, 14 in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, 35 cases, 11 in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, 34 cases, two in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, five cases, none in ICU.

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


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