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 13, 2020

Berkshire County Numbers:

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Berkshire County: 485

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

Statewide Numbers:

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts:  79,332

The number of COVID-19 Deaths in Massachusetts: 5,141

Today’s News Items:

Governor Baker, said today during his daily briefing that as a state we have conducted more than 401,000 COVID-19 tests with more than 6,700 reported yesterday. Around 870 tests were positive, roughly a 13 percent rate of positive tests.

The Williamstown Affordable Housing Trust and Berkshire Housing Development Corp. Have started accepting applications for the trust's Emergency Rental Assistance Program for those impacted by COVID-19.

The Select Board in Williamstown is urging residents to wear facemasks when outside of their homes. The board and town manager reminded town residents Monday why that mandate is essential in accordance with Gov. Bakers recent order.

The death toll for Berkshire County held at 37 for the seventh day on Tuesday, but there were seven new cases of COVID-19 reported. That brings the county total to 485. Across the state, 33 new deaths were disclosed by the Department of Public Health, for a total of 5,141. The case count rose by 870 to 79,332.

The Berkshire Center for Justice has been awarded $5,000 from Berkshire United Way's COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. With the funding, the non-profit is offering free legal services for those impacted by COVID 19 for the entire month of May.

Gov. Charlie Baker said during his briefing Tuesday that he is asking the Legislature to authorize $1 billion in state spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent Information:

The Great Barrington Farmers Market will open for its 30th season on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its Church Street location. A special shopping hour for senior and high-risk Immunocompromised people will be available from 9 to 10 a.m. All shoppers should wear masks. You can find out more at greatbarringtonfarmersmarket.org

The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority is receiving a $5.7 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration. The BRTA will use the grant funds to support continued transit service during the public health emergency.

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

Gov. Charlie Baker outlined a four-phase plan Monday to reopen businesses that have been closed since late March as part of the state's effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The four phases are Start, Cautious, Vigilant, and the New Normal.

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.

The town of Great Barrington has postpone its annual town meeting and election. The town meeting will be June 22nd and the town election will now be June 30th.

The Sheffield Town elections will now take place on May 11th at the Sheffield Senior Center, with polls open from 9 AM to 7 PM. Voters will also be able to vote by Absentee Ballot or by Mail Ballot instead of at the Senior Center. Meanwhile the Sheffield board of selectmen town administrator have agreed that the closure of all town buildings will remain in effect until May 18th unless the order is extended by Governor Charlie Baker.

The annual town election in Clarksburg is scheduled to be held on May 26th. Voters are being encouraged to cast ballot by mail.

The annual town election in the town of Florida has been postponed until June 23rd. Absentee and early voting ballots are available and can be requested by mail from the Town Clerk.

The Select Board in Williamstown may cut back on polling hours for the annual town election which has been postponed to June. Town officials are strongly advising voters to take advantage of mail-in voting.

The town of Great Barrington is extending the suspension of plastic water bottle restrictions through May 31st.

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

COVID-19 Resources:

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.

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.