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Berkshire County doing better on vaccine distribution than most of Massachusetts

Jan 29, 2021 6:33 am
Francesca Paris reports in the Berkshire Eagle that while Massachusetts is beset with many of the same coronavirus vaccine distribution problems as New York, "Berkshire County has emerged as a leader" with seven percent of residents there receiving at least a first shot. That is the highest vaccination rate per capita so far in the state. “She gave special recognition of how well we have worked out here,” said state Rep. John Barrett III, a Democrat from North Adams. “With Berkshire Health Systems being the depot center, that’s something they are using for a model now statewide.” Instead of shipping the vaccine to separate points, Berkshire Health Systems serves as a central distribution point where most of the county’s doses arrive before being sent out to three large-scale public vaccination sites. “It’s really been exceptional the past few weeks,” said Laura Kittross, director of the Berkshire County Boards of Health Association. “Everyone has been willing to chip in and do their part and work together without worrying about who is getting credit or where the money is going to come from.” Across the border in New York, vaccine distribution may be improving slowly, as case counts continue to climb. Ulster County officials say they received 1,200 vaccine doses two weeks ago, 1,300 last week, and 1,500 this week. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan expects those numbers to continue to rise, as President Joe Biden promised a 16 percent increase in vaccine doses for the states. Ulster County announced 86 new cases Jan. 28, and two more deaths. Dutchess County reported 142 new positive tests, and two more deaths. Albany County announced another death and 216 new cases on Jan. 28, while Rensselaer County announced 88 new positive tests. There were 56 new COVID-19 cases announced in Columbia County, and 35 more in Greene County Jan. 28. Catskill High School also announced it is going all-remote after a student tested positive for COVID-19.