I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 2,325 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 237,456 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 5,192 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 96,701 patients have been tested today, and 10,674 people have passed away since the beginning of the pandemic. Learn more here.
Letter Sent to Governor Baker on the Department of Corrections response to COVID-19
Today, my Senate co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery Julian Cyr and I sent a letter to Governor Baker to raise our concerns about COVID-19 in Massachusetts correctional facilities. While some steps were taken early in the pandemic, the Department of Corrections has failed to protect vulnerable incarcerated individuals or the staff members employed by the state. We must expand testing and mask-wearing in facilities, improve on data collection, and decrease our prison population to safer amounts. We must also ensure that the mental health of incarcerated individuals is addressed. You can read the full letter here.
Save the date
I am hosting a town hall on adolescent mental health and the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic next Thursday 12/10 at 5PM. I will be joined by Roxann Mascoll, a mental health clinician, Keith Mascoll, an Actor, Producer, and Mental Health advocate and CRLS students. Keep an eye out for a link to register for the Zoom in the coming days, or join in by watching CCTV Channel 9 or Facebook Live. Please submit questions you have ahead of time to Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov, or submit them in the Q&A chat during the town hall. I hope to see you there.
To listen to Keith and Roxann's podcast Living a Triggered Life Podcast, which focuses on a Black couple who have their own trauma histories talk about love, mental health, relationships, and family dynamics as they explore the impact on their long term marriage, click here.
Keith has also worked on The Boys 2 Men Monologues project, which uses art to guide young men in writing a personal monologue including their thoughts about manhood, mental health, being black and brown during the Black Lives Matter movement, and being resilient. To learn more about the project, click here.
State Action Updates
Today, the Legislature passed a $46.2 billion FY21 budget. This budget has now been sent to Governor Baker’s desk to sign. Stay tuned for an email from me next week on my own budget highlights and accomplishments.
The Department of Education has sent letters to school districts in Boston, Worcester and Springfield asking for information on when special education students and those with disabilities will return to classrooms. The districts are expected to respond with a plan for bringing these students back in person within 10 days.
The Massachusetts Trial Court will continue to reduce in-court operations through at least January 11, 2021 in light of the recent increases in COVID-19 infections in the state. Proceedings that take place in the meantime will be held via virtual hearings to the extent possible.
Baker Press Conference Updates:
Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today.
Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here.
MIT COVID-19 information, click here.
Black Cambridge & COVID-19
A Youth Roundtable with Becoming a Man this Sunday, December 6th at 1pm, with hosts Cambridge School Committee Vice-Chair Manikka Bowman and Former Mayor & City Councilor Denise Simmons. The series engages a cross-sector of Black leaders in the City of Cambridge, the state of COVID-19, and how the Black community survives the pandemic.
You can tune in Sunday, December 6th at 1:00pm by:
- Pre-registering on Zoom
- Watching on FB Live,
- CCTV's Channel 9, cctvcambridge.org/channel09, or youtube.com/cctvcambridge
Tomorrow’s Popportunity Market is cancelled tomorrow, December 4th, due to inclement weather. It will be open on Sunday December 5th between 11AM and 5PM.
Thank you to the Central Square Business Improvement District for providing a safe space where we can support our neighbors and our local economy.
The City announced that it will not expand the Shared Streets pilot into a larger program, a decision made in response to feedback from the community and the observed operation of the Shared Streets. The existing shared streets will be removed for the season today, December 4th.
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. People who live and work in Cambridge can get a flu shot at no charge at one of the flu clinics run by the Cambridge Public Health. 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:
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:
- Monday - 50 Church St. 12:00pm - 8:00pm
- Tuesday - 50 Church St. 12:00pm - 8:00pm
- Wednesday - 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church, 10:00am - 6:00pm
- Thursday - CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 11:00am - 7:00pm (Drive-through testing in garage. Enter on First St.)
- Friday - 50 Church St. 12:00pm - 8:00pm
- Saturday - Pisani Center located at 131 Washington Street. 11:00am - 7:00pm
- Sunday - CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 11:00am - 7:00pm (Drive-through testing in garage. Enter on First St.)
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
Cambridge Community Center
In partnership with the Central Square BID, the Cambridge Community Center (CCC) has launched a safe, socially-distanced Food & Supply Pantry. The pantry is open Tuesdays - Fridays 1:00pm - 3:00pm at 5 Callender street, Cambridge MA (Gymnasium Entrance). The CCC have received generous food donations from our friends at Food For Free and Lovin' Spoonfuls, and have been able to offer community members healthy options, including fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other quality grocery items. In addition to food donations, here are some other supplies that are in need for the pantry.
- Feminine hygiene products (preferably pads)
- General hygiene products (shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.)
- Toilet paper
- Household cleaning supplies
Even if you're not able to donate to our COVID-19 Relief Fund, you can still support the pantry by spreading the word!
On Fridays, Cambridge CoHousing will be collecting food for the Chelsea Food Collaborative. Drop off is between 9 AM to 2:30 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."
For the two upcoming Fridays (12/11, 12/18) Cambridge Cohousing invites you to donate a children's book with your food donation -- a new or in very new-like condition for children ages infant to 10 years old. Our partner in Chelsea is very grateful. They say that not only will the children benefit but also adults who are learning English or learning to read to and with their children. They will distribute during the holiday seasons coming up. Thanks for your continued support.
A Collective Kindness Effort
Cambridge Camping has been serving low-income families for 127 years. I feel honored to be an alum of their summer camp program. Now, more than ever, our children need support, connection to mentors and peers, and the opportunity to create and share joy. Since COVID, CCA has innovated to support its families, providing necessary services - diapers, food, school supplies - and safely offered in person and virtual programming. Cambridge Camping has risen to the COVID challenge and proven that relationships and connection are stronger than any virus.
As we enter this season of giving and gratitude, CCA is grateful for the support we've received to date, yet we are $3,000 away from our goal which will allow us to provide gift baskets of hearty holiday food and toys to camper families. Please help us raise $3,000 by December 15 and together we will bring joy and much needed essential relief. If you cannot contribute, please share and join us in our wish for a peaceful, healthy 2021. Donate here today.
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.