I write to you today with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, there are 46 cases of COVID-19 in Cambridge. There are 3240 cases in Massachusetts, including 685 in Middlesex County. 29,371 patients have been tested in Massachusetts and 35 patients in the state have passed away. Learn more here: https://bit.ly/3bx5ziu.
The City of Cambridge is providing COVID-19 information in Amharic, Arabic, Bangla, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese. You can find these multilingual help resources here: https://bit.ly/2wKXAzA
The city is suspending adding interest and late fees to water and sewer bills due between March 30th and June 30th.
The city will be temporarily absorbing credit card and ACH fees for online payments paid through their Invoice Cloud payment portal until further notice.
Thank you to Cambridge's own Eric Lander and all of those at the Broad Institute which started processing COVID-19 tests on Tuesday and can run more than 1,000 per day. Learn more here: https://wbur.fm/2UpaOLK.
State Action Updates
The state income tax filing deadline has been moved to July 15th to align with the federal filing deadline.
Governor Baker has asked all travelers arriving in Massachusetts to self-quarantine for 14 days. MassDOT will be distributing flyers with information on this to transportation hubs in the state, and information will also be posted on highway message boards.
The Attorney General's office has filed an emergency regulation to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive debt collection. It prohibits creditors from engaging in methods of debt collection that require people to leave their homes or have in person contact and from making unsolicited debt collection telephone calls to consumers. You can learn more here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/ma-reg/download
The AG's office has also prohibited the price gouging of essential products and services during the Public Health emergency. If you see price gouging, you can file a report here: https://bit.ly/3apskVn or call the Consumer Hotline at this number: 617-727-8400.
Public Health Updates:
The state has launched the Buoy Health 24/7 Online Tool which all Massachusetts residents can use free of charge to check their symptoms and connect with health care resources. You can find the tool here: http://www.buoy.com/mass
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in good standing will be given greater flexibility in prescribing.
The governor's administration and Massachusetts Medical Society have partnered to match health care professional volunteers with communities and health care providers. They are in need of respiratory therapists and public health nurses. If you're interested in volunteering, you can sign up here: MAResponds.org.
Federal Action Updates:
Today, Congress passed $2 trillion in emergency spending to address COVID-19 through the CARES Act. This legislation will:
- Directly send $1,200 cash to Americans making less than $75,000 per year with an additional $500 per child.
- Expand unemployment benefits by providing an increase of $600 per week, waiving waiting weeks, extend federally-funded benefits by 13 weeks, and expanding access to unemployment insurance to those who are self-employed or work in the gig economy.
- Dedicate $377 billion to small business relief efforts, including $350 for loan forgiveness grants.
- Dedicate $150 billion fund for hospitals and providers for needs related to COVID-19
- Provide increased funding to states, tribes and local governments
Where to donate
While grateful for the benefits in the federal CARES Act, I am deeply upset to see that tax paying immigrants without a social security number will not receive the $1200 cash benefit. These are families who are struggling just as much if not more than many others. If you know of an organization in your community supporting and advocating for immigrant justice, now is the time to donate.
In Cambridge, one place to look is the Enroot Emergency Immigrant Cash Assistance Fund, which will provide short term assistance to Enroot students and their families. You can learn more about this fund and donate to it here: https://bit.ly/2y7bBIe.
Additionally, you can donate to the following places which are working to help those most impacted by COVID-19:
Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund: https://bit.ly/3bgTBJU
Cambridge Community Foundation: https://bit.ly/33ImGeE
Food for Free: https://bit.ly/3afFuEE
Greater Boston Food Bank: https://www.gbfb.org/
Cradles to Crayons Emergency Essentials Fund: https://bit.ly/2WHOD4V
If you are interested in seeing previous COVID-19 updates, you can find them here:https://www.decker4rep.com/news/ As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.