Berkshire County community’s plow drivers in quarantine as storm approaches

HINSDALE, MA – Eighty percent of the Hinsdale Highway Department’s staff has tested positive for COVID-19, and while there’s never a good time for that to happen, when it comes just days before a major snow storm is forecast, it might just be the worst time.

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"Immediately I think about worst case scenarios, that’s kind of how I am programmed," stated Hinsdale Administrator Bob Graves.

It’s a good thing he prepares for the worst. At the town highway garage on Wednesday, there was one solitary man holding down the fort, one man left to do everything. He was the only worker out of five in his department who has not tested positive for COVID-19.

"I have on resident who is 76 leave me a voice mail message after the article in the newspaper this morning saying he still has his CDL and if need be, call him," Graves explains.

One town selectman also volunteered, but then caught COVID. That means Hinsdale will have to rely on Plan B, which entails getting a little help from friends in neighboring communities.

"We’ve got Peru, Dalton, and Washington (to help)," Graves says, "That’s kind of what you have to do to survive up here in these small towns. There is a lot of good will."

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Neighborly help is nothing new in the Berkshires, and this year it’s simultaneous. While several communities are clearing the roads in Hinsdale, Hinsdale police officers will be patrolling the roads in nearby Dalton, where 13 members of their police department have tested positive for COVID.