I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 1474 Cambridge residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 100 residents have passed away, according to the state's database. Learn more here. There have been 139,353 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 702 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 2,486,650 patients have been tested, and 9,482 have passed away. Learn more here.
In person early voting begins tomorrow, Saturday, October 17 in Cambridge.
In-person early voting will run from Saturday, October 17th to Friday, October 30th, at 3 locations in Cambridge:
- Longfellow Community School – 359 Broadway, rear entrance
- Cambridge Water Department - 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
- Valente Library – 826 Cambridge Street, side entrance on Berkshire Street
- Weekdays, Monday to Friday - 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
State Action Updates
State testing data shows that the recent increase in COVID-19 cases is driven by young people. More than 70% of recent positive COVID tests in Massachusetts involve people under 50. People in their 20s accounted for 22% of the positive COVID-19 test between Sept. 1st and October 13th for the most recent data available. People age 19 and younger accounted for 17.5% of positive tests, people in their 30’s accounted for 16.8% and people in their 40s accounted for nearly 14% of the positive COVID-19 tests, according to the data. The other 30%, mostly affected people in their 50s and 60s. The 50s age bracket alone accounted for 13.2% of positive tests. The number of COVID-19 tests does not automatically translate into the number of confirmed cases as some individuals might take multiple tests or there may be other variables that lead to higher testing numbers according to the state’s Department of Health. However, the state’s weekly report shows a similar pattern of confirmed cases, over the past two weeks, 71.8% of new COVID-19 cases have afflicted people under the age of 50. Medical experts are concerned that the rise in COVID-19 cases among young people could be tied to mask and social distancing fatigue. Dr. David Rosman, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society has stressed this point over the past few months, “We may be done with COVID, but COVID isn’t done with us.” Read more here.
The state’s unemployment rate dropped back into single digits in September, employers added 36,900 more jobs as Massachusetts experienced its economic recovery from the COVID-inflicted recession. State labor officials announced Friday that the unemployment rate declined to 9.6 percent in September, 1.8 percentage points below the revised August rate of 11.4 percent. This is the lowest the unemployment rate has been since March, the last month where the data did not completely reflect massive layoffs promoted by government shutdowns and large-scale shifts in consumer behavior to avoid public health risks. While still substantial, the job growth pace slowed in September with 36,900 jobs added last month compared to the addition of 62,500 jobs in August according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The largest job employment increase in September came in education and health services, which added 11,100 positions. The leisure and the hospital industry added 10,800 jobs, since September 2019 these industries have lost more than a third of its jobs. In the week ending October 10, 39,038 people filed for traditional unemployment benefits, while another 11,478 people filed claims for the expanded eligibility Pandemic Unemployment assistance program, according to the Baker administration. Read more here.
Starting Saturday, Massachusetts will no longer require people traveling from four more states to quarantine upon arrival to Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health announced Friday, along with tweaking its criteria for travel risk. California, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Washington are being added to the list of low-risk states, according to an update Friday on Massachusetts’ COVID-19 travel order page. The change goes into effect at 12:01am on October 17. This is the first change under the Massachusetts travel order in two weeks. Read more here.
Carpooling safely during COVID-19
Practice social distancing while using rideshares, paratransit, taxis, and personal vehicles:
- Limit the number of occupants in the vehicle whenever possible
- All occupants should wear a face covering at all times while in the vehicle
- Open vehicle windows whenever possible
- Keep disinfectant wipes in the vehicle to clean touchpoints after passenger(s) exits the vehicle
Governor Baker Press Conference Updates:
Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today.
The Department of Human Service Programs (DHSP) is extending its Fall of the Fields Outdoor Programming until November 20, 2020. The program was originally scheduled to end on October 30, will be offered Monday through Friday, from 3:00pm - 6:00pm at Danehy Park, Rindge, Hoyt, and Sennott Fields. Please note the program locations and hours are subject to change as the days get shorter. Supervised by DHSP staff, the daily experiences will include recreation and games, arts and music, and opportunities to move, play, explore, and create in a safe and supervised environment. Families can register each day at the field.
Fall Recreation Guidelines, including COVID-19 protocols that will be in place:
- Parent/guardians are required to be present at all times for children ages 8 or below
- Everyone must always wear a mask at and around the fields
- Staff will be wearing DHSP t-shirts: please check in each day at the sign-in desk when you arrive and leave the fields
- All participants must have completed a registration form for contact tracing and safety reasons
- All participants will be required to wear a mask and maintain social distancing while on the field and participating in DHSP activities (masks will not be provided)
- Restrooms are located on or near fields and are available for participants only Staff will escort children to and from the restrooms
To learn more, read here.
Cambridge flu clinics are now open. The Cambridge Public Health Department is ramping up its efforts to vaccinate more residents than in previous years, with the goal of administering 10,000 flu shots this season. The flu vaccine is being donated by Cambridge Health Alliance. Cambridge residents can get a free flu shot at the health department’s public clinics. The first four clinics will be held indoors on Oct. 15, Oct. 21 (two clinics), and Oct. 22 at the King Open School, 850 Cambridge Street in the Wellington-Harrington neighborhood. Outdoor clinics will be held on Oct. 28-29 at Starlight Square (the parking lot at the corner of Norfolk St. and Bishop Allen Dr. in Central Square) and at Danehy Park/Fresh Pond Plaza on Nov. 14. Flu shot appointments are required this year. To schedule an appointment online, go to https://cphd-flu-2020.as.me. The City’s Flu Clinic Call Center at 617-349-9788 will open next week for those who wish to make appointments by phone. You can learn more about the clinics here.
Contactless Holds Pickup Service hours at the O'Neill Branch, 70 Rindge Ave., Cambridge have been extended. The new schedule, which will go into effect on Wednesday, October 7, is as follows:
Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Thursdays, 11:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
Fridays, 11:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
Where to Get Tested
Testing appointments through the City's free mobile-testing program are now available at the following locations:
- Pisani Center, located at 131 Washington Street, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., on Saturday, October 17, and 24.
- St. John the Evangelist Church, located at 2270 Massachusetts Avenue, 10:00am - 6:00pm on Wednesday, October 21.
You can schedule an appointment online or by calling 617-665-3795.
Translation Resources Available
Multilingual city resources and information on COVID-19 are available on the City's multilingual help page.
Where to Give
On Fridays, Cambridge CoHousing will be collecting food for the Chelsea Food Collaborative. Drop off is between 9 AM to 3:30 PM at 175 Richdale Ave, the entrance to CoHousing, either in a paper bag or small box. If you don't see someone at the moment you come, please leave it just inside the gate where we will have boxes marked "For Chelsea."
If you are able to give to others during this time, I encourage you to look to the following places that are working to help those most affected by COVID-19:
Cambridge Community Foundation
Cradles to Crayons Emergency Essentials Fund
I also encourage you to donate to the following organizations that are engaging in racial justice work:
Louis D. Brown Peace Institute
Families for Justice as Healing
Union of Minority Neighborhoods
As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.