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New England News

Vermont Governor Phil Scott
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Phil Scott is discussing his administration’s decision to close all schools in the state by Wednesday.

A sign with directions for various departments of a hospital stands at a crossroads
Josh Landes / WAMC

Today, The Berkshire Eagle reported that Berkshire Medical Center has 160 employees under quarantine. The Pittsfield, Massachusetts hospital is fielding COVID-19 cases in Berkshire County. Registered nurse Amber VanBramer works in the BMC Critical Care unit and is also a member of the Massachusetts Nurses Association bargaining team. She says some nurses are unhappy with a policy that calls for BMC employees to reuse supplies in the midst of the crisis – a policy that the hospital told WAMC is in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. VanBramer spoke today with WAMC.

       In response to the mounting public health crisis, public access is being denied to more and more government buildings. 

A man sits in a chair wearing a suit and bow tie in an office with wooden walls
Josh Landes / WAMC

The city of North Adams, with 13,000 residents in the Northwestern corner of Massachusetts, has closed municipal offices today, and is preparing for the three-week ban on all on-site service in state restaurants and bars that starts tomorrow. North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard spoke today with WAMC about how schoolchildren will receive the food they rely on while public schools are closed for three weeks, and more.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker stands at a podium in front of a marble building with a row of people standing on either side of him
Josh Landes / WAMC

Governor Charlie Baker has ordered new aggressive measures to fight the pandemic in Massachusetts.

PVPC

     The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission announced Friday that its former Executive Director Tim Brennan had died following a brief illness.

        The Massachusetts Health Connector has opened a special enrollment period because of the coronavirus.

UVM Medical Center main entrance
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Less than one week after the Vermont Department of Health announced the first case of COVID-19 in the state, officials at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington confirmed the hospital is treating a second Vermonter for the illness.

Academic institutions around Berkshire County are responding differently to the spread of COVID-19. Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts is moving entirely to remote learning starting in April after an extended spring break. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams has extended its break through Friday, March 27th before returning to normal classes on March 30th. Berkshire Community College, with 1,600 students from around the county and a flagship campus in Pittsfield, is canceling many events into April. Dean of Enrollment Management Christina Wynn explained to WAMC how BCC is crafting its response, and why the community college faces unique challenges.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker stands at a podium in front of a marble building with a row of people standing on either side of him
Josh Landes / WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker met with Pittsfield leaders about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak today.

The town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts is taking steps to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

Two older white men stand in front of a marble colonnade
Josh Landes / WAMC

Two Berkshire County legislators have introduced a bill to the Massachusetts House that would establish a fund to support residents who cannot work due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Springfield Commissioner of Health and Human Services Helen Caulton-Harris and Mayor Domenic Sarno held an info session about the coronavirus at the Hungry Hill Senior Center.
WAMC

     Officials in the largest city in western Massachusetts are taking what they describe as a “measured response” to the coronavirus. 

A woman in a blue dress stands behind a podium in front of a row of people and a trio of local, state, and federal flags
Josh Landes / WAMC

The city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts has issued a local state of emergency declaration so it can qualify for state and federal funds related to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The Kripalu logo - white text on an orange sqaure
Kripalu

The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts is closing for six weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

A man in a blue suit holds a plaque with two men standing on either side of him. One of them men wears an ornamental necklace.
Emily Schiavoni

On Tuesday, the North Adams Elks Lodge gave Drury High School band director Christopher Caproni its Citizen Of The Year Award. The award is intended to recognize a community member who has shown leadership, volunteered, and has gone above and beyond to prove themselves both helpful and reliable. Caproni, who has directed the Drury band for over a decade, spoke with WAMC.

University of Vermont Waterman Administration building
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The University of Vermont will shift to remote methods of instruction rather than in-person classes starting next week to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

A white man smiles in a blue button-down shirt and a blue blazer with a pin shaped like Massachusetts with the American flag over it on his lapel
Ben Mancino

The Vice President of the North Adams, Massachusetts City Council is quarantined after being tested for exposure to COVID-19 and "developing mild symptoms" Tuesday afternoon. While Jason LaForest awaits the results of those tests, he will remain home until March 24th. He tells WAMC that members of his family have also been tested, and that he must maintain a six-foot distance from them while under quarantine. LaForest spoke to WAMC about the circumstances that led to his possible exposure, and what it’s like to be caught up in the emerging story.

A stone building with a colonnade lit by lights sits in front of a brick churck and a street lamp
Josh Landes / WAMC

At its meeting Tuesday night, the Pittsfield City Council continued discussing the possibility of seasonal alternate side parking.

Gov. Charlie Baker (R-MA) speaks at a State House news conference where he issued an emergency declaration because of the spreading coronavirus.
Governor's press office via Twitter

   Massachusetts has joined the list of states to declare emergencies over the coronavirus.

A brunette white woman stands in a gymnasium with a microphone in front of her
Josh Landes / WAMC

By Tuesday, seven people had presumptive positive tests for COVID-19 in Berkshire County. With more than 90 cases in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency on Tuesday. Allison Egan is a senior public health planner for the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, one of the groups leading a countywide effort to contain the outbreak of the disease. A specialist in public health disaster preparedness, Egan spoke with WAMC about the disease, its spread, and how the county is working to combat it.

Vermont's secretary of state formally certified the results of Vermont's presidential primary one week after the votes were cast.

COVID-19 Diagram
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The state of Vermont has activated its emergency operations center to help experts prepare for the potential widespread transmission of the coronavirus.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announces lawsuit against Clearview AI
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Vermont Attorney General’s office filed suit Tuesday in Chittenden Superior Court against a New York-based data collection company claiming it has illegally obtained photographs of Vermonters, violating their privacy rights as well as the state’s consumer protection and new data broker laws.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse announces the St. Patrick's Parade and Road Race have been cancelled due to concern about the coronavirus.
WAMC

One of the largest annual events in western Massachusetts has been cancelled due to concerns about the novel coronavirus.

Mayor Linda Tyer holds a "Tyer For Mayor" sign in front of a brick wall
Josh Landes / WAMC

On Thursday, Pittsfield, Massachusetts held a chaotic public meeting about the controversial new EPA mediated Rest Of River cleanup plan for the Housatonic River. The plan has attracted vocal opposition from some county residents, largely in response to the creation of a new toxic waste dump in Lee. For some Pittsfielders at the meeting, the plan stirred up painful feelings of betrayal from the city’s long history of pollution by General Electric. Mayor Linda Tyer spoke with WAMC that night about why she chose to sign on to the agreement.

nhpr

    Police in the largest city in western Massachusetts will soon start wearing cameras as funds have now been approved to purchase the equipment.

A Vermont woman convicted of manslaughter in the death of her disabled son, who had vodka poured into his feeding tube, has been granted a sentence reduction.

Maple jugs
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont's maple syrup season is officially underway.

A sign with directions for various departments of a hospital stands at a crossroads
Josh Landes / WAMC

On Monday, Berkshire Medical Center announced that it has made more COVID-19 diagnoses at its Pittsfield campus. The county’s first patient with the disease was recognized on March 7th. WAMC spoke with Berkshire Health Systems Director of Media Relations Michael Leary about the expanding outbreak.

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