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In Massachusetts, only Berkshire County is rated 'high' for COVID by CDC

 COVID-19  at-home tests kits.
Elizabeth Román
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NEPM
COVID-19 at-home tests kits.

Berkshire is the only county in Massachusetts right now to be rated with a high community COVID-19 level, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends people in counties with a 'high' community rating wear masks.

Pittsfield, Massachusetts Public Health Nurse Manager Pat Tremblay said she knows people are tired of masking, but if someone tests positive or is exposed, they and those they live with should mask at home.

After a positive test, she said, people should isolate for five days and on the sixth day, if a person feels better and has no fever without medication, they can leave home masked.

"Anybody who is wearing a mask because of exposure or having tested positive should not do activities that require them to take their mask off," Tremblay added. "So if you are at work, you should find a separate place to eat lunch."

Most counties in Massachusetts have a CDC rating of "medium" right now. Only three are rated "low" — Including Hampden County.

Tremblay said she believes the high rating from the CDC is a "seasonal surge" because it's getting colder and more people are spending time inside.

Pittsfield and many other Berkshire communities are providing free at-home COVID tests for residents. Tremblay said if someone has tested positive or been exposed they should send a friend or relative to pick up the free tests.

Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Earlier in her career she was NPR’s Midwest editor in Washington, D.C., managing editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub and recorded sound for TV networks on global assignments, including the war in Sarajevo and an interview with Fidel Castro.