Good evening, I write to you with some updates on COVID-19 and resources that may be of use in the coming weeks.
As of today, March 18th, there are 256 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Massachusetts, including 100 in Middlesex county. 1743 patients have been tested. Learn more here: https://www.mass.gov/
resource/information-on-the- outbreak-of-coronavirus- disease-2019-covid-19.
Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis DePasquale announced a Cambridge relief fund that will be open to donations to support Cambridge residents.
Cambridge Police have changed their protocols in order to maintain social distancing. They will be practicing in two-person teams, but riding in separate cars. This means you may see more police vehicles on the roads than usual.
Starting today, there will be a construction moratorium on all private and public construction in the city.This moratorium will last until further notice. Read more here: http://bit.ly/2WnMmvu.
Public health orders:
Today is the first day that all non-essential, elective surgeries are cancelled.
Today, DPH Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel signed public health orders that will:
- Allow physician's assistants who previously worked on elective surgeries to be used elsewhere
- Allow pharmacists to administer certain medication for the treatment of opioid use disorder
- Require the Local Board of health to disclose the addresses of those diagnosed with COVID-19 to the official in charge of emergency calls
Child Care Updates:
Starting Monday March 23rd, all childcare facilities will be closed until April 6th. Emergency childcare services will be provided for emergency personnel and vulnerable children. Space will also be made for those who are not emergency personnel but still have to work. You can learn more here: https://www.mass.gov/
Unemployment Insurance Updates:
Today, the House of Representatives fast-tracked legislation which grants certain workers a waiver from the one week waiting period for unemployment benefits. This applies to anyone making a claim for unemployment insurance benefits who has become separated from work due to circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus.
Small Business Updates:
Today, Governor Baker announced tax relief measures for small businesses, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors, impacted by COVID-19. Businesses will have until June 20th to pay their March, April, and May meals and occupancy taxes without penalty. Learn more: http://bit.ly/2vxefGl
Department of Conservation and Recreation Update
DCR will be closing all agency-owned playgrounds and fitness areas until April 1st. Agency-managed bathroom facilities will close until March 25th. State parks are still open to the public. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/2U2i3IY
Resources for taking care of your mental and emotional health when quarantining:
- Call 2-1-1 to participate in the Call2Talk program, which offers mental health, emotional support, and suicide prevention. To use this service, dial 2-1-1, press 4 for English then dial 2-5.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has published a guide on taking care of your behavioral health during an infectious disease outbreak, you can read it here:https://www.samhsa.gov/
sites/default/files/tips- social-distancing-quarantine- isolation-031620.pdf
- The IAFF has put out a flyer that outlines COVID-19 behavioral health considerations. This includes information about common stress reactions and what to expect when quarantined. See it here:https://www.iaff.org/wp-
As always, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns to Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov