Home » News » Berkshire Health Systems Announces Updates to its COVID-19 Infection Control Guidelines
Published: 05/10/2023

Berkshire Health Systems Announces Updates to its COVID-19 Infection Control Guidelines

It has been more than three years since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Berkshire County. Over the past three years, Berkshire Health Systems and the healthcare community at-large have evolved in our understanding of the virus and how best to support our community. In recognition of this progress and after careful review of all relevant public health data and information, Berkshire Health Systems is relaxing many of its COVID-19 infection control guidelines effective Thursday, May 11, 2023, when both the state and federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declarations will expire.

We know that COVID-19 will likely maintain an ongoing presence in our communities, and in response, both our caregivers and our community members are ready with the tools necessary to manage and prevent its transmission.

BHS’s number one priority remains ensuring safe care environments for our patients, staff, and community members in all areas of our operations, including infection control and prevention of COVID-19 and similar viruses. We will continue to monitor and adapt as necessary to all public health data, information from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The following changes will apply to all patients, visitors, and community members across Berkshire Health Systems facilities effective May 11, 2023. We reserve the right to issue further changes as appropriate based on public health data and guidance.


Universal masking is no longer required at BHS. This includes ambulatory, acute, and home care settings.

Patients, visitors, and staff members may wear a mask if they wish, and we encourage anyone to do so if they feel it will benefit their health and wellness. To ensure our care environments are physically and emotionally safe, our patients may request that their care providers wear a mask. All such requests will be honored.

Please note that any patient or visitor who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days or who is symptomatic (fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat) must mask immediately upon entering a BHS facility and notify a staff member of their status. Home care patients who have tested positive in the past 10 days or are symptomatic must mask immediately upon the arrival of the BVNA clinician.


We are asking all patients and visitors to self-screen upon arrival at any BHS facility. Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days or has a fever, cough, sore throat, or runny nose must wear a mask and inform a BHS staff member of their condition immediately upon check-in.

The above guidance will be posted outside all BHS facilities and in all patient registration areas. Our staff will have masks on-hand to distribute to anyone who meets one or more of these criteria.

BVNA clinicians will continue to pre-screen patients prior their scheduled visits and will advise patients to mask if they are symptomatic or recently tested positive for COVID-19.


Pre-Procedure Testing:

As of May 11, 2023, pre-procedure COVID testing will be discontinued. Any patients with existing testing appointments scheduled through May 31, 2023, can keep those appointments. Patients with test appointments scheduled further out than May 31, 2023, will be notified of cancellation.

Pre-anesthesia screening of patients will continue in accordance with regular pre-operative procedures.

If a patient arrives on the day of the procedure with symptoms, providers will perform a rapid COVID-19 test. A patient who tests positive may have their procedure rescheduled.

Inpatient Testing:

BHS will continue to test all patients in the Emergency Department before admission to BMC or Fairview Hospital, whether or not they are symptomatic. Tests will be processed by the BHS in-house laboratory in order to return the quickest possible results.

General Testing:

Our three COVID-19 testing centers in North Adams, Pittsfield, and Great Barrington will be closed by the end of May due to overall low demand for tests and the broad availability of at-home COVID-19 test kits. Please visit https://www.berkshirehealthsystems.org/covid/covid-19-testing-centers for complete details on the final date of operation for each location.


We have revised our visitor policy to accommodate additional visitors and/or expanded visiting hours. Please review the visitor policy at www.berkshirehealthsystems.org/patient-resources/visitor-guidelines for complete details.­­­