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The Checkup: Testing numbers rise, but still short of governor's goal

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

TESTING NUMBERS RISE: The number of tests conducted for COVID-19 topped 30,000 (based on a seven-day average) for the last two weeks, according to Gov. Charlie Baker, twice the number in mid-July and nearly three times June's level.

But the number of tests is still well short of an earlier target.

In May, Baker set a goal of conducting 45,000 tests per day by the end of July and 75,000 by the end of December.

In remarks Tuesday, Baker said measures on public health are "in a great place," according to the State House News Service. But he noted that some cities and towns are still contending with high rates of transmission. "That's why we introduced a new system for color-coding and providing ramped-up resources and stricter enforcement in the communities that have higher levels of COVID," Baker said. "Everyone needs to keep in mind that we only get to this point through the actions of every resident employer, business, local official, state official, basically everyone."

THE NUMBERS: Berkshire County's death toll remained at 46 as of Wednesday, with the confirmed COVID-19 case count unchanged at 655, the state Department of Public Health said.

The DPH said 22 new deaths were reported as of Wednesday in Massachusetts, pushing the statewide total to 8,853. Deaths including those listed as probably caused by COVID-19 is 9,060. Confirmed cases rose 288 to 119,426.

The case totals (and death counts) in neighboring counties: Franklin, 392 (up one to 66); Hampshire, up three to 1,176 (140); Hampden, up six to 7,682 (up four to 751).

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According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, 103,920 people in Massachusetts with COVID-19 have recovered.

As of Wednesday, 24,632 cases have been confirmed among residents and staff of long-term care facilities, up five. In all, 380 facilities have had at least one confirmed case and have seen 5,815 deaths linked to COVID-19, up 12 since Tuesday.

BMC TEST RESULTS: As of Wednesday, Berkshire Medical Center reported having tested 22,653 people, with 614 positive results and 21,712 negative. There were 327 pending test results.

BEYOND OUR BORDERS: Global cases as of Wednesday totaled 25,865,205, with 859,478 deaths and 17,163,241 instances of recovery, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen 6,110,535 cases, 185,644 deaths and 2,202,682 recoveries, the school said as of Wednesday.

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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." Wednesday's figures:

- Seven-day weighted average of positive test rate: 1, up 2 percent.

- Three-day average of number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals: 314, up 4 percent.

- Number of hospitals using surge capacity to care: 3

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- Three-day average of COVID-19 deaths: 14, up 28 percent.

WILLIAMS COLLEGE REPORTS: The college's daily dashboard said, as of Wednesday, that the campus had administered 3,266 tests for COVID-19 since Aug. 17 and those produced one positive result.

AT THE HOSPITALS: As of Wednesday, Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for two COVID-19 patients, neither of them in intensive care. Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had no cases.

The patient count for other western Massachusetts hospitals: Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, three cases, one in ICU; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, no cases; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, 18 cases, none in ICU; Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, four cases, one in ICU; Holyoke Hospital, five cases, one in ICU; Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, one case.

The numbers include both confirmed and suspected cases.

Statewide, as of Wednesday there were 308 people hospitalized, with the latest daily admission of 151 people. Of those hospitalized, 58 are in ICU and 29 are on ventilators.

To date, 1,764,172 people in Massachusetts have been tested 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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