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Pittsfield COVID-19 Rates Remain Stagnant

A street lined with buildings has a row of flowering trees in between lanes of traffic
Josh Landes
Downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts gave a COVID-19 update at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

At the bimonthly virtual meeting, Mayor Linda Tyer said Pittsfield remains in the state’s “yellow” designation for COVID-19 transmission.

“Our case trend can be best described as stagnant over the most of the last couple of weeks, with a pronounced drop of case trends over the last five days," said Tyer. "The case rate is now 16.9% for 100,000. That is a drop of 29% in 14 days. Most of the drop, approximately 25% of that, has happened in the last five days, while 4% happened in the first 12 days of this 14 day period.”

She said the city’s positive test rate is following a similar trend, down from 3.02% at her last update in April.

“It is now at 2.59%," said the mayor. "Our estimated active case count, now at 25, went up in the second half of April, but has consistently gone down since then, which demonstrates an overall downward trend since our last high peak on March 25. Recent clusters have centered on a local business and transmission within households. The Health Department continues to do contact tracing and provide guidance for residents and employers on isolation and quarantine requirements. Hospitalizations are also dropping, but after a slight increase seven days ago. Today Berkshire Medical Center is reporting two hospitalizations and zero in the ICU.”

Tyer said wastewater testing is showing an indication of an upward trend.

There is positive news on the vaccine front.

“The Massachusetts Department of Public Health currently reports that 56% of Pittsfield residents have at least one vaccine dose," said Tyer. "40% of Pittsfield is fully vaccinated. So we are on track to hit the 50% fully vaccinated mark by May 18th.”

While the rollout continues moving forward, Tyer said efforts are underway to increase progress.

“In the last couple weeks, all available appointments at the Berkshire clinics have not been filled," she explained. "According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, more people are utilizing the pharmacy locations for their vaccines. The Berkshire Vaccine Collaborative which operates the three clinics in Pittsfield, North Adams and Great Barrington has implemented two new strategies to expand access at the clinics: walk-in vaccination and pop up clinics. Last week at the first walk in clinic at Berkshire Community College in just three hours’ time, 177 doses were administered at that first walk in clinic.”

As the state continues to reopen, Tyer said Pittsfield is working to facilitate the process locally.

“The city's senior sanitarian Andy Cambi has worked closely with our local businesses to address any clarifications that are needed with regard to state issued guidelines along with providing daily telephone consultations for local businesses, Andy has conducted onsite inspections to review layouts and safety protocols," said the mayor. "In the last two months, he has visited eight businesses to review their operations. These businesses have ranged from churches to manufacturing facilities. Also on a daily basis, Andy has worked closely with Becky Manship, the city's recreation and special events coordinator, to ensure that all special events are following sector-specific guidelines. The special events have varied in magnitude from reviewing plans for the Berkshire Theatre Group to reviewing safety plans for small memorial services. Every applicant for a special event permit has to submit a safety plan that addresses capacity, mask enforcement and risk control. Working with the applicants and with Becky, the city's Department of Community Development has been able to issue 37 special event permits so far for this year.”

For more information on Pittsfield’s COVID-19 picture, click here.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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