The Checkup: State making more data available on extent of COVID-19 infection

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

NEW DATA ROLLS OUT: As of this week, the state is making more data available on the extent of COVID-19 infection. The new statistics include results regarding testing in nursing homes, as well as deaths in nursing facilities reported by the institutions.

In Berkshire County, only three nursing facilities continue to be listed, as before, as having confirmed cases: Fairview Commons in Great Barrington, Timberlyn Heights in Great Barrington and Williamstown Commons in Williamstown.

Meantime, while the state has been providing weekly data on confirmed cases by city and town, those reports now also provide a tally on the number of tests performed for individual communities and the rate of positive test results.

Starting today, The Checkup will include those new numbers when it relays the report on individual communities (in the item below).

The state's new numbers also chart test results for state-run health and human services facilities and congregate living centers. Interestingly, lawmakers on Beacon Hill have been wrangling over legislation spelling out what kinds of information the state should be collecting and making public. It's likely that the new state data comes from public employees who anticipated new requirements on data.

COMMUNITY DATA: As of this week, the state Department of Public Health is providing a weekly breakdown of confirmed coronavirus cases by city and town that includes the numbers of tests administered and the percentage of positive test results.

In alphabetical order, here are results for Berkshire County communities with five or more cases. After the community name, the figures list number of cases, number of tests and percentage of positive tests:

Adams: 35, 344, 10.2%

Becket: 12, 80, 15%

Clarksburg: 7, 55, 12.7%

Dalton: 9, 362, 2.5%

Egremont: 5, 40, 12.5%

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Great Barrington: 72 (up from 52), 680, 10.6%

Lanesborough: 8 (up from 7), 126, 6.3%

Lee: 16, 370, 4.3%

Lenox: 13, 417, 3.1%

New Marlborough: 6, 36, 16.7%

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North Adams: 46 (down from 47), 567, 8.1%

Pittsfield: 169 (up from 153), 3,243, 5.2%

Richmond: 5, 40, 12.5%

Sheffield: 15, 142, 10.6%

Stockbridge: 14, 120, 11.7%

Williamstown: 83 (up from 81), 554, 15%

These communities had fewer than five cases (the DPH does not list numbers in that range for communities of fewer than 50,000 people): Cheshire, Florida, Hancock, Hinsdale, Otis, Peru, Sandisfield, Savoy, Tyringham, Washington and West Stockbridge.

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The following towns continue to have no reported cases: Alford, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Ashford and Windsor.

The number of cases statewide rose from 88,970 to 94,220 in the week.

LEADING INDICATORS: The state DPH 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.

- Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 8.1, down 72 percent;

- Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 2,109, down 41 percent;

- Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 9, down 57 percent;

- Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 54, down 65 percent.

THE NUMBERS: The number of people killed by COVID-19 in Berkshire County held Thursday at 40, with no new new cases. To date, 539 cases have been confirmed in the county.

The state Department of Public Health reported 93 new deaths across Massachusetts, for a total of 6,640. The report added 675 confirmed cases, for a new state total of 94,895.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Thursday, Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for three patients, none of them 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, 22 cases, four in ICU; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, five cases, none in ICU; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 71 cases, 14 in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, 21 cases, five in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, 13 cases, two in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, two cases, none in ICU.

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


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