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The Checkup: First additional Berkshire County COVID-19 death reported since July 3

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The Berkshire Eagle

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

THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County's death toll rose by one Thursday to 46. The confirmed COVID-19 case count was unchanged at 648, the state Department of Public Health said.

The DPH said 15 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 8,375. The number of confirmed cases rose 304 to 109,400. Meantime, probable cases (a separate tally) rose by 110 as to 7,698.

The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, up one to 398 (60); Hampshire, up five to 1,107 (127); Hampden, up 28 to 7,381 (692).

As of Thursday, 24,144 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities. In all, 376 facilities have had at least one confirmed case and have seen 5,477 deaths linked to COVID-19.

HOTEL STEPS UP IN PANDEMIC: A Pittsfield hotel is back to business as usual after serving as a state "isolation and recovery site" for homeless people who tested positive for COVID-19.

From April 17 to June 2, the Hilton Garden Inn was one of six hotels used by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to house and treat for people without shelter.

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Seventeen people were cared for at the 1032 South St. hotel by nurses contracted to provide 24-7 attention, including meals and medical treatments. The homeless patients were not sick enough to be hospitalized, but required isolation until they were cleared to leave to avoid transmission of the disease.

Samantha Phillips, director of MEMA, said the six hotels served as isolation and recovery sites for people who are homeless, housing insecure or otherwise did not have a safe place to isolate while in recovery. Patients were transported to the regional center closest to where they were tested, she said.

"I'm glad we went through it," Phillips said of efforts to create the care sites. "It's a good tool to have and I hope that we'll be able to replicate that for the future."

People needing access to remaining sites in Northampton or Everett can call 617-367-5150 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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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 percentage change since April 15. Thursday's figures:

- Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 2, down 93 percent.

- Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 374, down 90 percent.

- Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 4, down 81 percent.

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- Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 13, down 91 percent.

TWO WEEK LOOKBACK: The Eagle is also calculating results for a 14-day lookback on some leading indicators. As of Thursday, positive tests over a seven-day period showed a 20.7 percent rise from two weeks ago. The three-day average of the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals represented a 33.94 percent decline. The three-day average of confirmed COVID-19 deaths was unchanged from two weeks ago.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Thursday, Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for no patients, as was also the case at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington.

The COVID-19 patient count for other western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, one case, not in ICU; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, one case, not in ICU; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 22 cases, three in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, 10 cases, one in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, five cases, none in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, no cases.

The numbers include both confirmed and suspected cases.

Statewide, as of Thursday there were 367 people hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 178 people. Of those hospitalized, 55 are in ICU and 29 are on ventilators.

CORRECTION: The number of new cases in Pittsfield from July 22 to July 29 was incorrect in a headline and in one section of a listing Thursday. The city saw 10 new cases in that period.

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


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