Public health nurses in Berkshire County are continuing to put forth contact tracing efforts in order to help slow down the spread of COVID-19 cases. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Leslie Drager, who is the public health nurse for 20 towns in Berkshire County, is one of four public health nurses and staff from health departments and schools across the Berkshires that is collaborating to contain the coronavirus by tracking down those exposed to an infected person. 

The Eagle reports that Pittsfield’s public health nurse, Kayla Donnelly has been so busy managing staff for contact tracing, and doing it herself, that she wasn’t even able to respond to calls for the publication’s story. Director Gina Armstrong was also unable to respond to the Eagle for the same reason. Contacts tracing is considered to be a key to understanding the spread of infections, and epidemiologists say precision is needed to control a pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is expecting to receive 20% fewer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine after state officials say the federal government reduced its allotment. Gov. Charlie Baker has expressed his frustration over the move, but he still expects the state to have more than enough doses in the first months of 2021. 

Massachusetts inmates will be some of the first to get the vaccines, that is after health care workers, emergency medical workers, and residents of long-term care facilities get vaccinated. The New York Times is reporting that tens of thousands of inmates will be offered the shots ahead of home health aides, seniors, and medically vulnerable residents. 

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