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The Checkup: School nurses coached on coronavirus safety

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

NURSES COACHED ON VIRUS: Schools that are actually welcoming students back face new rules on nursing. The state released new standards last week for care provided inside schools.

Officials said, for example, that schools need to provide a waiting room for students who come to see a nurse and show symptoms of the coronavirus, such as a cough or a fever. That space becomes, in effect, a mini-quarantine area until a parent or caregiver comes.

Staff working in that space must wear masks and eye protection, the state says. The guidance lists other issues that school nurses are supposed to work out with local health boards.

THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County's death toll rose by one to 47 as of Sunday, with the confirmed COVID-19 case count up two to 683, the state Department of Public Health said.

The DPH said 14 new deaths were reported as of Sunday in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 9,001. Deaths including those listed as probably caused by COVID-19 is 9,210. Confirmed cases rose 267 to 122,904.

The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, 396 (up one to 67); Hampshire, 1,196 (141); Hampden, up 11 to 7,857 (767).

According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, 107,501 people in Massachusetts with COVID-19 have recovered.

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LONG-TERM CARE PICTURE: As of Sunday, 24,706 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities, up one. In all, 382 facilities have had at least one confirmed case and have seen 5,906 deaths linked to COVID-19, up nine since Saturday.

FAMILY VISITS ON HOLD: Families cannot visit relatives at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home through next Sunday, after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus. Patients' families were notified of the suspension of visits in an email that said the affected staffer works in administration, not patient care. The home, run by the state, has been the subject of ongoing probes after the virus was linked to the deaths of 76 veterans between March and June.

WORLD OF COVID: Global cases as of Sunday totaled 28,847,777, with 921,564 deaths and 19,503,656 instances of recovery, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen 6,512,451 cases, 193,976 deaths and 2,434,658 recoveries, the school said as of Sunday.

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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 change in either the count or "lowest observed value." Sunday's figures:

- Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 0.8 percent, unchanged

- Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 325, up 7 percent

- Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 1

- Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 15, up 63 percent

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WILLIAMS COLLEGE REPORTS: The college's daily dashboard said, as of Sunday, that the campus had administered 8,789 tests for COVID-19 since Aug. 17 and those produced three positive results. Also, 3,411 tests in the last seven days produced two of those positive results.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Sunday, Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had no COVID-19 cases.

The patient count for other western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, no cases; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, no cases; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 26 cases, one in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, two cases, one in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, four cases, none in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, one case, not in ICU.

The numbers include both confirmed and suspected cases.

Statewide, as of Sunday there were 313 people hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 127 people. Of those hospitalized, 61 are in ICU and 21 are on ventilators.

To date, 2,968,723 people have been tested in Massachusetts for the virus, according to Johns Hopkins.

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


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