I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 1439 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 135,011 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 734 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 2,380,392 patients have been tested, and 9,362 have passed away. Learn more here.
State officials also reported that 19,567 more people had been tested for coronavirus, bringing the total to more than 2.38 million. The number of administered tests climbed to more than 4.6 million. The state also reported that new antibody tests had been completed for 354 people, bringing that total to 122,441. Statewide, Massachusetts appears on track to surpass the crucial threshold of an average of 8 daily new cases per 100,000 next week -- a threshold for municipalities that indicates the communities at the highest risk for COVID-19 transmission. As of this Wednesday's report, the statewide incidence rate was an average of 7.3 daily cases per 100,000 residents, up from 5.7 the previous week.
106 Student Cases Reported to DESE:More than 100 Massachusetts public school students and more than 50 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week, according to data published by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education based on local-level reporting to the state.
State Action Updates
Gov. Charlie Baker met Friday with Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, at the State House in a private meeting. The meeting with Birx came after she held a forum in Cambridge to learn more about testing on college campuses in Massachusetts and as Massachusetts watches COVID-19 activity increase. The state reported more than 730 new cases Friday, the 11th day in a row that has added at least 400 new cases to the state's total. That total surpassed 135,000 cases Friday.
Next week, an eviction moratorium enacted this year to keep people healthy and in their houses during the pandemic is scheduled to end, though a solution may be in the works with input from all three branches of state government.
The Baker Administration announced a COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group to advance its efforts to prepare to distribute a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available. Comprised of medical professionals, public health experts, elected officials, community leaders and infectious disease specialists, the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group will advise the Administration, including the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the COVID-19 Command Center, on communication, distribution, and equity issues relating to a COVID-19 vaccine. Read more about the Advisory Group here.
Middlesex Jail Tests Find 27 Negatives. Twenty-seven incarcerated individuals in the Middlesex County Jail and House of Correction all tested negative for COVID-19 in the past week, Sheriff Peter Koutoujian announced Friday. Seventeen of those people were tested a second time after officials confirmed one positive case last week, prompting a quarantine order in the housing unit, but the quarantine will now end. Earlier this week, more than 130 inmates at the Middleton Jail and House of Correction tested positive.
State Public Health officials offert tips for a safe and healthy halloween. For residents planning to celebrate Halloween, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today provided safety tips to help limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. DPH is also reminding residents and communities to be aware that Halloween activities are subject to the current state gathering size limits as well as applicable sector-specific workplace safety standards.
Tips for a Safe and Healthy Halloween
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health MA-DPH would like you to take the COVID-19 community impact survey. DPH is trying to better help people through the COVID-19 crisis by hearing about their experiences and challenges right now. By taking the COVID-19 Community Impact Survey, you will help MA-DPH act and address the most critical needs, partner with communities to support local efforts, and inform state policy with accurate information on what people need now and in the long term. Results will be available to community-based organizations for their own planning and action purposes.
This survey is open to Massachusetts residents age 14 and older and takes 10-15 minutes to complete. Currently, the survey is available in six of the most common languages spoken in the state: English, Chinese (standard and traditional), Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and Vietnamese.
Take the COVID-19 Community Impact Survey
Governor Baker Press Conference Updates:
Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today.
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.
Per the amended City face covering order which went into effect on October 2, 2020, patrons participating in Contactless Holds Pickup should wear a face covering over their nose and mouth, unless exempt per exceptions as listed in CDC (Center for Disease Control) or Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines. Learn more about Library services and the Fall schedule for Contactless Holds Pickup Service at Cambridgema.gov/cpl.
Cambridge is installing six official ballot drop boxes. To provide Cambridge voters with additional options for returning their voted and sealed ballots, the City of Cambridge Election Commission has secured six (6) exterior official ballot drop box locations for the upcoming election to ensure the 2020 State/Presidential Election.
Crews from the City’s Department of Public Works are completing the installation this week. The ballot drop boxes are accessible, secure, and safe for voters and election workers. The drop boxes will be available for use by Cambridge voters beginning on Friday, October 9, 2020 through Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. You can find the locations here.
Where to Get Tested
Testing appointments through the City's free mobile-testing program are now available at the following locations:
- St. John the Evangelist Church located at 2270 Massachusetts Avenue, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. on Wednesday, October 14.
- Pisani Center located at 131 Washington Street, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., on Saturday, October 10, 17, and 24.
You can schedule an appointment online or by calling 617-665-3795.
The state's Stop the Spread initiative provides no-cost testing in communities across the state that have continued to see a higher number of residents testing positive for COVID-19. Stop the Spread testing sites are open to ALL Massachusetts residents and are not restricted to residents of the cities where sites are located. You do not need to have any symptoms to be tested. Find more information about locations and hours here. Current Stop the Spread communities are: Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Framingham, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lynn, Marlborough, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Salem, Saugus, Springfield, Winthrop, and Worcester.
If you are feeling symptomatic and feel the need to get tested sooner, you can call your primary care provider to make an appointment to be tested.
Translation Resources Available
Multilingual city resources and information on COVID-19 are available on the City's multilingual help page.
Where to Give
Food for Free, an organization that has been essential in helping to meet the needs of growing hunger insecurity in our community, is holding a Benefit Bake today, 9/22 with Flatbread Co. Somerville at 45 Day Street. When you order flatbreads, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Food for Free. Pickup, delivery, and outdoor dining will be available.
On Fridays, Cambridge CoHousing will be collecting food for the Chelsea Food Collaborative. Drop off is between 9 AM to 3:30PM 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.