The Checkup: North Adams floats outdoor dining trial balloon

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

NORTH ADAMS GETS ITS SNACK ON: Since Monday, the city of North Adams has been making a special home for outdoor dining in the pandemic era. So, kick back, relax and ditch the takeout.

Patrons at participating downtown restaurants can enjoy a meal in an outdoor dining zone converted from a section of Center Street and the parking lot behind the Mulcare Block.

Table service will be available in the evenings, though the area can be used to enjoy to-go orders during the afternoon.

The program is set to last until Nov. 1. Officials say they are working on ways to expand outdoor dining in other parts of downtown, depending on how things go. Regular traffic flow on Center Street will be disrupted, but all parking lots accessible by the street will remain open.

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:

- Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 1.9, down 93 percent;

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- Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 620, down 83 percent;

- Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 5, down 76 percent;

- Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 14, down 91 percent.

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THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County's death toll (45) and confirmed COVID-19 case count (604) held steady Tuesday, the state Department of Public Health said.

The DPH said 15 new deaths were reported statewide as of Tuesday, pushing the total to 7,998. The number of confirmed cases rose 140, to 104,799.

GAMING ON: The MGM Springfield casino plans to reopen Monday, after an invitation-only event this week helps its staff work out its new, and somewhat limited, way of operating.

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For instance, no one can stay overnight in hotel spaces; that part of the business will reopen in the "weeks or months" ahead, according to the State House News Service. The games of roulette and craps are not part of the casino's return. Neither is valet parking, for those high rollers who use it.

And the banks of slot machines won't be humming at their usual frenetic pace. Some will be disabled to keep casino patrons 6 feet apart. Casinos in Massachusetts took a monster hit from the coronavirus. The $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, owned by Wynn Resorts, recently furloughed 3,000 employees.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Tuesday, neither Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield nor Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had any COVID-19 cases.

The patient count for other Western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, six cases, one in ICU; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, no cases; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 13 cases, one in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, six cases, none in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, three cases, one in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, no cases.

The numbers include confirmed and suspected cases.

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


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