Exterior photo of the Berkshire Medial Center
Berkshire Medical Center; photo courtesy Berkshire Health Systems.

Berkshire Health Systems Revises Visitation Guidelines and Reinforces Mandatory Masking at its Healthcare Facilities

August 3, 2021

PITTSFIELD — In the wake of a recent uptick in COVID-19 activity in the community, Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) is revising its visitation guidelines for Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital. Effective Wednesday, August 4, visitation will be limited to one healthy visitor per patient in both adult medical/surgical units and pediatrics, compared to two visitors allowed previously. Visitation hours remain unchanged and are available from noon to 8:00 p.m. daily in the adult medical surgical units and 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Critical Care and Progressive Care units.

Editor’s Note: The following article is derived from officially released information, published with few or no editorial changes. The Greylock Glass  occasionally provides our readers with such content if the information is factual in nature, and requires little to no interpretation or analysis, often when original reportage would provide little to no additional relevant information.

“COVID-19 is resurging across the nation, but, for now, Berkshire County remains among the areas of low to moderate positivity,” said James Lederer, MD, BHS Chief Medical Officer/Chief Quality Officer. “Our healthcare facilities are safe, and our community should have no hesitation in seeking out the services they count on from our healthcare providers. Those who are vaccinated run a far lower risk of being infected, and if there are breakthrough infections, research has shown that the vast majority come with less severe symptoms or no symptoms at all.”

Visitation guidance has not changed for maternity, the hospitals’ Emergency Departments, outpatient services and physician practices where one visitor has been allowed per patient for some time.

Visitation guidance can be found in detail at www.berkshirehealthsystems.org/coronavirus.

Masking Policy
Berkshire Health Systems is requiring that all patients and visitors wear a new medical-grade mask upon each entry to the facility and must use that mask during their visitation or appointment. The free masks will be given to anyone entering a BHS facility and provide enhanced protection for patients and visitors compared to re-used masks that likely have degraded in quality over time. This policy will be implemented in accordance with new Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines on masking.

Vaccination Availability
Berkshire Health Systems continues to offer COVID-19 vaccinations across Berkshire County, with vaccine being administered in Pittsfield and North Adams at its COVID-19 testing facilities and in Great Barrington at Fairview Hospital. Walk-ins are welcome. Testing and vaccine appointments can also be made by calling the BHS COVID Hotline, 855-262-5465, open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The hotline is also available for any questions involving COVID-19, vaccination and testing.

For more information on Berkshire Health Systems and COVID-19, you can also visit www.berkshirehealthsystems.org/coronavirus

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Photo of The Pittsfield Generating Plant at 235 Merrill Road, Pittsfield. Mass, owned by Hull Street Energy; still image from the short documentary, The Peaker Plant Problem, by Ben Hillman, via YouTube.
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