I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, there are 1222 Cambridge residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 99 residents have passed away. Learn more here. There are 111,853 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, including 26,254 in Middlesex County. 1,277,617 patients have been tested, and 8,488 have passed away. Learn more here.
Today, the Cambridge Public School District shared an update on the reopening of schools which includes a summary of the reopening plan for September. Yesterday, the School Committee voted to approve the Superintendent's recommendation to re-open schools with a staged approach. Certain conditions will need to be met to ensure student, family, and staff health and safety. You can view the presentation given at last night's school committee meeting and watch a video of the meeting here.
Next Thursday, 8/13 at 6PM City Councilor Denise Simmons and Cambridge School Committee Vice-Chair Manikka Bowman will lead a conversation "Women's Suffrage: 100 Years and Still Waiting" honoring the tireless dedication of Black women and women of color whose work has shaped history. You can join on Zoom or watch on CCTV Channel 8.
There will be a Stand Out Against Racism at Porter Square this Sunday at 10AM. If you attend, please remember to wear a face covering and practice social distancing.
Where to get tested:
During the month of August there will be free mobile testing for Cambridge residents provided by the Cambridge Public Health Department at the following locations:
- Jefferson Park Clinic (266-B Rindge Ave) on Wednesday, August 12th 10AM-8PM
- The Pisani Center (131 Washington St) on Saturday, August 15th 11AM - 7PM
To schedule an appointment, call 617-665-3795 or sign-up online.
Testing capacity will be increasing throughout the month. The City will release appointment slots one week at a time to avoid no-shows, which have been increasingly occurring.
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.
State Action Updates
The state's unemployment rate has triggered federal extended benefits. This is a federal extension of 7 weeks for all Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants, and up to 13 weeks for certain eligible regular unemployment claimants. Regular unemployment insurance claimants who are eligible to apply for extended benefits will receive notification. PUA claimants do not need to do anything to receive the additional 7 weeks and will receive a notice through the PUA system that their benefits have been extended.
UMass Amherst announced yesterday that it is changing its fall reopening plan. Students are no longer allowed to return to campus if they have online-only classes. Students who are dependent on campus housing and dining, some international students with specific visa requirements, and students in healthcare fields who need to live on campus will be held on a case-by-case basis and will be accommodated in most cases. The university is encouraging students who live off-campus to not return to the Amherst area.
Governor Baker Press Conference Updates:
Today, Governor Baker announced that step two of phase III of the Commonwealth's reopening plan has been postponed indefinitely.
He also announced an updated gatherings order effective Tuesday 8/11 which will:
- Reduce the limit on outdoor gatherings from 100 to 50 people (indoor gatherings limit will remain at 25 people)
- Apply these limits to all types of gatherings, on both public and private property
- Require face coverings where more than 10 people from different households will be mixing.
There are new restaurant protocols in place. Alcoholic beverages can only be served for on-site consumption if accompanied by orders for food prepared on-site.
The Stop the Spread Initiative, which has been providing free COVID-19 testing in 17 communities across the state has been extended through September 12th. All testing sites are open to all Massachusetts residents.
There will be a targeted cross-agency COVID Enforcement and Intervention Team responsible for ramping up enforcement across the state and coordinating local intervention efforts in "higher-risk" COVID-19 communities, which will be designated based on public health data.
Where to Give
On Fridays throughout August, Cambridge CoHousing will be collecting food for the Chelsea Food Collaborative. Drop off is between 10 AM to 4PM 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:
I also encourage you to donate to the following organizations that are engaging in racial justice work:
As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.