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Two Franklin County deaths due to COVID-19 reported

Staff Writer
Published: 3/29/2020 1:18:30 PM

Two Franklin County residents are reported to have died of COVID-19-related illnesses as of Saturday, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Massachusetts had 4,257 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 44 deaths as of Saturday.

The first Franklin County death was reported on March 26 as a male in his 80s. The second was reported March 27 as a female in her 90s. (The amount of information the state publicizes is limited by privacy laws.) In both cases, it was unknown whether the person had any preexisting conditions, or whether the person had been hospitalized.

Nationally, there were 103,321 confirmed cases as of Saturday and 1,668 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Data is reported from all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health considers COVID-19 activity to be increasing in the state. Expanding testing capacity is a priority, the Department of Public Health mentions in its daily press releases. As of Saturday over 35,000 people in Massachusetts had been tested, up from 29,371 the day before.

Local hospitals have set up protocol for testing for COVID-19 and for handling positive cases. In Greenfield, Baystate Franklin Medical Center only tests for COVID-19 if initial tests for the flu and other viruses are negative. Patients awaiting test results are held in a special wing. Positive cases are transferred to the larger Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.

Baystate Health did not comment on whether the two Franklin County deaths had been among its patients.

In light of major COVID-19 outbreaks in nearby states, Gov. Charlie Baker has advised people not to visit the state if they are displaying any symptoms. All travelers arriving in Massachusetts are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days.

New York has by far the most confirmed COVID-19 cases of any state, with 53,363 as of Sunday, according to the New York Times. The next highest were New Jersey, at 11,124, and California, at 5,565.

The CDC has advised residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut against non-essential travel for the next 14 days.

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.




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