This is a collection of information that I share each day on my Berkshire News Network Coronavirus Information Update reports, which are heard on all of our Townsquare Media Berkshire stations. If you hear it there... you'll find it here:

Wednesday May 20, 2020

Berkshire County Numbers:

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Berkshire County: 497

The number of COVID-19 Deaths in Berkshire County: 37

Statewide Numbers:

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts: 87,925

The number of COVID-19 Deaths in Massachusetts: 5,938

Today’s News Items:

Town parks in Great Barrington are reopening for passive recreation but playground equipment remains off limits for now. Lake Mansfield will also be open but no swimming. 

Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire is applying for funding to provide free, professional technical assistance to businesses based in the southern Berkshires. Take their short survey to help them understand your business needs, you can find the link on at https://cdcsb.org/  

Berkshire Country Day School in Lenox is plans to reopen the campus as soon as the state allows and is currently offering weekly virtual Open Houses and Virtual Tours for prospective families. 

The number of COVID-19 deaths in the County held at 37 for the 14th day as of Tuesday, and the county saw no new cases of CO-VID 19. The total remains at 497.

Across the state, 76 new deaths were reported by the Department of Public Health, for a total of 5,938. The case count rose by 873, to a new total of 87,925.

Berkshire Medical Center reported caring for three patients with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, one of them in intensive care. Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington had no COVID-19 cases for a second straight day.

State Rep. Paul Mark is joining with a Hampshire County lawmaker to propose allowing cities and the state to impose freezes on increased rental costs during the COVID-19 emergency

Great Barrington’s postponed annual town meeting will be held Monday, June 22nd, at Monument Mountain Regional High School as planned, but for the first time, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s physical distancing guidelines, the meeting will be held outside either on the football field or in a parking lot.

Recent Information:

As plans get into motion for reopening the state's economy, manufacturing and construction is allowed to start up again provided that standards are followed to curb the spread of the virus. Houses of worship can also resume services if they can create social distancing. Businesses in the service industry, like hair salons and pet groomers, to open on May 25th.

As the commonwealth slowly re-opens its economy, you can be guided by the downloadable “Reopening Massachusetts” report. You can find it here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/reopening-massachusetts/download

Gov. Charlie Baker announced today his plan for reopening the state's economy. It’s a very detailed plan that will be carried out in phases. You can watch the full daily briefing at https://www.mass.gov/covid19-updates

Southern Berkshire Elderly Transportation says that it will be opening for service on May, 26th and will be doing personal errands for you such as shopping, getting pet supplies, picking up prescriptions, and more. Officials also say they will transport clients to any medical appointment that cannot be postponed! The services will be provided at no charge to the client through June 26th.

State Representative Smitty Pignatelli is encouraged towns in the Fourth Berkshire District to host firetruck parades for Memorial Day to honor veterans across the Berkshire District.

The BSO announced on Friday that its summer season, including the popular artists series has been cancelled.

The Board of Directors of the Berkshire International Film Festival in Great Barrington has decided to cancel its 15th annual festival in 2020.

The Annual Town Meeting in Alford has been postponed until June 23rd. Residents check townofalford.org the week of June 9th for updated information. The Annual Town Election will be on June 30th.

There will be no events on Memorial Day in the Village of Housatonic and the Town of Great Barrington on Monday May 25th due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority is receiving a $5.7 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration.

Trails at Mass Audubon's wildlife sanctuaries at Pleasant Valley in Lenox and Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield have been reopened to users.

Statewide mandatory face covering when in public places when not able to physical distance is now in effect. Masks are not required for those under the age of 2 or for those who have a medical condition preventing them from wearing a mask.

Gov. Baker has announced that he is ordering that Massachusetts schools remain closed though the end of the school year.

COVID-19 Resources:

As the commonwealth slowly re-opens its economy, you can be guided by the downloadable “Reopening Massachusetts” report. You can find it here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/reopening-massachusetts/download

In addition to the reopening report, you can see the new “Safer at Home Advisory” at mass.gov/covid-safe

The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office has created a resource guide to educate community members about the availability of health and safety resources during social distancing. The full resource guide is available here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/berkshire-district-attorneys-offices-covid-19-community-resource-guide/download

Though the MassHire Berkshire Career Center is closed to in-person contact, their seminars and workshops are available on a webinar platform. You can find the schedule at https://masshireberkshirecc.com/events-calendar/

The Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (or WIC) is committed to providing families with continued support now and in the days ahead. They are able to provide all services by phone. Call 447-3495.

Unemployment benefit application for self-employed, gig economy, and other workers are now available. Learn more and apply at mass.gov/pua

Remember to wear a mask or face covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially when social distancing is difficult. More info at: mass.gov/coveryourface

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has launched a new website to provide resources for health care workers and first responders in the state, and information to the public. The website is FrontlineMA.org.

You can see the latest breakdown of Massachusetts COVID-19 cases by Location, Age, Gender, and Ethnicity at the following link: DPH COVID-19 Cases Breakdown It’s updated by 4:00 PM Daily.

For the latest information on COVID-19 visit the BHS Coronavirus Information Kiosk at http://www.berkshirehealthsystems.org/coronavirus

State residents can get COVID-19 text updates by texting COVIDMA to 888-777

The symptoms of Coronavirus are coughing, fever and shortness of breath. They may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. Residents can also check their symptoms and get other COVID-19 health related information by using a new FREE tool at buoy.com/mass

For the latest information on the Coronavirus including how to protect yourself and what to do if you become sick, visit the Federal Center for Disease Control website at cdc.gov/coronavirus

Check out the link to the Lenox Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Lenox: #LenoxLove COVID-19 Resources webpage: https://lenox.org/lenox-chamber-covid-19/

Downtown Pittsfield Inc. Has a link to COVID-19 resources on its website. Click this link: https://downtownpittsfield.com/2020/04/covid-19-resources/

Berkshire South Regional Community Center has announced Nourishing Neighbors, a new supplemental community meal program running for eight weeks and beginning today. Details are available at http://berkshiresouth.org/nourishing-neighbors/

The Town of Great Barrington has released a Mental Health and Wellness Kit, which is available at this link: https://www.townofgb.org/home/news/great-barrington-releases-mental-health-and-wellness-kit

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Berkshire County has announced its Warm Line. The Warm Line is a phone number that people can call to talk to either staff or a community trained volunteer. The number is 413-445-1136.

Community Access to the Arts has launched a series of online arts programs in order to combat the isolation that people with disabilities are experiencing during the COVID-19 crisis. Go to cataarts.org.

Looking for work? Nursing homes & Assisted Living Residences are in need of help. Find out more about the jobs available: mass.gov/covid-otnw

If you have a question about Coronavirus, you can call the BHS hotline which is available daily between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. The number is 1-855-BMC-LINK or 1-855-262-5465.