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The Checkup: New infections outpacing recoveries, DPH confirms

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The Berkshire Eagle

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

MORE INFECTIONS THAN RECOVERIES: Tucked into data released last week by the state was this sobering information: The number of newly confirmed COVID-19 infections in Massachusetts tops the number of recoveries. Between July 8 and July 15, the state added 1,167 confirmed cases, while 1,043 people who had tested positive were released from isolation after having recovered from the disease. Another 124 people died of the virus in that week, leaving 2,586 people isolated with the coronavirus — the same number as were isolated at the start of the period.

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. Sunday's figures:

- Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 1.67, down 94 percent.

- Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 504, down 86 percent.

- Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 1, down 95 percent.

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

TWO WEEK LOOKBACK: The Eagle is also providing results for a 14-day lookback on testing. As of Saturday, 1.67 percent of tests over a seven-day period were positive, a decline of 8.24 percent over two weeks.

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THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County's death toll remained at 45 Sunday. The confirmed COVID-19 case count rose by one to 623, the state Department of Public Health said.

The DPH said 12 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 8,213. The number of confirmed cases rose 218 to 106,882. Meantime, probable cases (a separate tally) rose by 78 as of Sunday to 6,652.

The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, 391 (58); Hampshire, 1,039 (120); Hampden, 7,140 (682). The day saw 20 new cases in Hampden County and one death each there and in Hampshire County.

As of Sunday, 23,841 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities. In total, 368 facilities have had at least one confirmed case and have seen 5,361 deaths linked to COVID-19, a one-day increase of 12.

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BEACON HILL'S BUGLE MAY SOUND: In an interview last week with the State House News Service, state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox, said he thinks lawmakers will be back on Beacon Hill after July 31, when the session formally ends, because of disruption across the board due to the pandemic.

"Everything has been kind of thrown off the rails," he said. "We normally would be done by the end of July. I truly believe that we will be called back into session sometime this fall. We don't even have a state budget at this point."

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Sunday, Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for one patient, not 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, one case, not in ICU; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, two cases, neither in ICU; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 15 cases, one in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, eight cases, one in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, one case, not in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, no cases. The numbers include both confirmed and suspected cases.

Statewide, as of Sunday there were 498 people hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 270 people. Of those hospitalized, 64 are in ICU and 41 are on ventilators.

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


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