A nationwide shortage of IV bags has effected Berkshire County — but not with any detriment to patient care, according to local officials at area hospitals. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Doreen Hutchinson, vice president of operations and chief nurse at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington says that the shortage is not negatively impacting the patient. Fairview, part of Berkshire Health Systems, received notice that there would be a shortage of IV bags from its supplier, Baxter, at least six weeks ago. The shortage arose from the far-reaching consequences of Hurricane Maria, which made landfall September 20th. It knocked out plants in Puerto Rico belonging to the company. The shortage has had its effects on medical facilities nationwide, including Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Since the shortage began Fairview has used different-size bags as needed, to better use what they have available.

 

Frigid Temperatures Pummel The Berkshires

It’s just about as cold as it can get out there as the Berkshires is a getting blast of arctic air that’s bringing along the coldest temperatures of the season thus far. IBerkshires.com reports that according to the National Weather Service, temperatures will be below zero at night all week and be in the single-digits or low teens during the days. The freeze is expected to be well below seasonal normal temperatures for December with arctic air coming into the area from Canada. The wind and cold aren't expected to break until next week. The coldest stretch is expected to start this evening and last until Friday morning. Tomorrow is expected to have the worst daytime temperatures somewhere around 9 degrees with wind gusts of as much as 24 mph making it feel a whole lot colder.

 

Beds At A Premium At Local Shelters In Midst Of Budget Freeze

Local shelters have fewer beds to offer this winter, even in the face of increasing demand. The reason… frozen state funding. The Berkshire Eagle reports that for the past four years, a $150,000 earmark helped shelters in Berkshire County increase their capacity during the winter months and meet spiking demand, but Gov. Charlie Baker froze all legislative earmarks in light of what his office is calling legislative overspending.  Collaborating social service agents said over 200 homeless people come through the stalled winter shelter program annually, in addition to the year-round clientele.