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COVID-19 Recovery Center opens in Great Barrington

COVID-19 recovery center, located at 148 Maple Ave. in Great Barrington. (Emily Thurlow)

GREAT BARRINTON — A coronavirus disease recovery center opened in town on Wednesday.
The recovery center was set up by the state Department of Health (DPH) at 148 Maple Ave. in the Great Barrington Health and Rehabilitation.
The facility was acquired by Thomaston, Connecticut-based Bear Mountain Healthcare in 2017 and was reported to be closing this May. Great Barrington Town Manager Mark Pruhenski directed requests for comment to Bear Mountain Healthcare. A representative did not respond as of presstime.
Gov. Charlie Baker outlined steps to support long-term care facilities, including $130 million in new funding, the development of care centers, expanded testing and personal protective equipment distribution at a press conference last Wednesday, April 15.
Baker said that the state has pursued three parallel options for expanding COVID-19 dedicated nursing facility capacity, including converting existing occupied facilities to fully dedicated COVID-19 facilities, like Beaumont Facility in Worcester; converting empty facilities to stand up a new dedicated COVID-19 nursing facility, like Great Barrington Health and Rehabilitation as well as Pioneer Valley Recovery Center in East Longmeadow; and creating dedicated COVID-19 wings within a broader nursing facility.
The Great Barrington COVID-19 Recovery Center is one of five dedicated facilities in the commonwealth, including Brewster, Falmouth, New Bedford and Longmeadow. An individual at the Great Barrington facility confirmed that the center had 10 beds and currently did not have any COVID-19 positive patients.
Initially, DPH reached out to Fairview Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located at Christian Hill Road, with an interest in utilizing the facility as a coronavirus disease recovery center, according to Lisa Gaudet, vice president of communications for the facility’s parent company, Berkshire Healthcare Systems.
But after testing was conducted at Fairview, five of the 112 residents tested positive for coronavirus. The residents were in private rooms in one area of the facility, she added. Gaudet also noted that the five residents, who reside in the facility’s short-term rehabilitation unit with designated nurses, were asymptomatic.
There are 120 employees at Fairview Commons and currently no reports of staff testing positive for the virus.
One of the Berkshire Healthcare Systems’ four facilities in the county, Williamstown Commons, has also had an outbreak of the virus. As of Tuesday, April 21, the facility reported that there were 35 confirmed cases of coronavirus in house and 21 that are recovering. A total of 17 residents have died from coronavirus disease-related illness.
The facility also reported that 126 staff members have also been tested for the virus. As a result, out of these employees, who were all asymptomatic, five tested positive and 121 were negative.
Statewide, there are 383 nursing homes, 255 assisted living residences and 93 rest homes in Massachusetts. There are approximately 38,000 residents in nursing homes; 16,500 in assisted living residences; and 3,000 residents in rest homes.

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