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The Checkup: No Berkshires communities listed for stepped-up anti-virus effort

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

PITTSFIELD STANDS ALONE: Of all 32 cities and towns in Berkshire County, only Pittsfield made it onto a new state map that flags areas of concern, in light of the pandemic.

On Tuesday, the state ID'd 33 communities in red and yellow on a map, pointing to where trends in COVID-19 infection will bring in new efforts to contain the disease. That list includes four cities — Chelsea, Everett, Lynn and Revere — where residents are said to be at the highest risk of infection.

The 33 communities — none in Berkshire County — will get new state help with virus testing and contact tracing, along with advice on limiting the size of public gatherings.

Pittsfield is shown in green on the new state map, indicating that is has seen fewer than 4 new cases per 100,000 population in the last two weeks. That status does not trigger any new state involvement, officials said. No other Berkshire municipality is color-coded on the map.

THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County's death toll held at 46 as of Tuesday, with the confirmed COVID-19 case count dropping by one to 667, due to a data correction, the state Department of Public Health said.

The DPH said 10 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 8,529. Counting probable cases, the death total is 8,751. The number of confirmed cases rose 296 to 112,969. Meantime, probable cases (a separate tally) rose by 96 to 8,738.

The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, 411 (61); Hampshire, up five to 1,184 (up one to 130); Hampden, up 18 to 7,637 (up two to 709).

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As of Tuesday, 24,538 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 5,585 deaths linked to COVID-19, up six since Monday.

COLLEGE DOMINOS FALLING: More and more colleges in the state are rethinking plans to bring students back to campus. This week, both the College of Holy Cross in Worcester and the Lowell campus of the University of Massachusetts said they will restrict the number of students this fall. Holy Cross said it expects a "very limited" number of students on campus, citing new state restrictions, including a required quarantine for those coming in. UMass Lowell will provide online instruction for most students, following the lead of the flagship campus in Amherst. Only lab and studio classes will be held in person.

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. Tuesday's figures:

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- Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 1.9, down 94 percent.

- Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 381, down 89 percent.

- Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 2, down 90 percent.

- Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 11, down 93 percent.

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TWO WEEK LOOKBACK: The Eagle is also calculating results for a 14-day lookback on some leading indicators. As of Tuesday, positive tests over a seven-day period showed a 0.08 percent rise from two weeks ago. The three-day average of the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals represented a 5.94 percent increase. The three-day average of confirmed COVID-19 deaths fell 10.81 percent from two weeks ago.

POLICE POWER: Up until now, it has fallen to health boards to enforce COVID-19 regulations and restrictions. The policy that Gov. Charlie Baker rolled out Tuesday gives local police the power to enforce restrictions.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Tuesday, Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for no patients, but for the first time in many weeks, Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had one case.

The COVID-19 patient count for other western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, two cases, neither in ICU; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, no cases; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 28 cases, one in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, seven cases, two in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, four cases, one in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, one case, not in ICU.

The numbers include both confirmed and suspected cases.

Statewide, as of Tuesday there were 387 people hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 151 people. Of those hospitalized, 70 are in ICU and 33 are on ventilators.

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


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