I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 2,898 Cambridge residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 103 residents have passed away, according to the state's database. Learn more here. There have been 314,850 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 3,760 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 61,067 tests have been performed today, and 11,759 have passed away. Learn more here.
State Action Updates
President-Elect Biden, Massachusetts Elected Officials Receive Vaccine
Over the last few days, several elected officials in Massachusetts, as well as President-Elect Biden, received the COVID-19 vaccine following distribution of the Pfizer vaccine nationwide. U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey and U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Katherine Clark and James McGovern all said Saturday that they had been vaccinated, and released statements regarding the necessity of using protective measures until the vaccine is more readily available. President-Elect Biden appeared on live television while receiving the vaccine today and encouraged viewers that there is nothing to worry about regarding safety concerns. Read more here.
Public Health Officials Urge Governor Baker to Consider More Protective Measures
Almost 20 organizations and over 200 individuals signed an open letter to Governor Charlie Baker, asking his administration to consider closing indoor dining, reinstate the eviction moratorium expiring December 31st, and pass emergency sick leave for people who have been exposed to the virus. The letter addresses the surge in coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, which is currently 70% higher than our peak in April, and comes as many fear the holidays will elevate the surge. Read more here.
COVID Stimulus Package Passes in Congress
Congress passed legislation after months of disagreements today that will provide some relief to families struggling economically during the coronavirus pandemic. With a $600 stimulus check for all eligible individuals, the bill halves the amount distributed in April. The legislation does see an increase in payments for dependents, going from $500 for each dependent to $600 for each dependent. The $908 billion package also includes $300 weekly unemployment payments through the spring and small business loans for struggling businesses nationwide. Read more here.
Baker Press Conference Updates
Governor Baker urged everyone to stay inside for the holidays at his press conference today, highlighting concerns that we are dangerously close to overwhelming our hospitals following a spike in cases after Thanksgiving. His administration is discussing what further actions, if any, they will take to reduce case numbers in the state, which have continued to surge in the last few weeks. His administration also announced that they are distributing small business grants to 1,158 small businesses across the state, an initiative announced in October as part of the state's economic recovery plan.
Tips for Celebrating a Happy and Safe Holiday Season, click here.
Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here.
MIT COVID-19 information, click here.
Popportunity is a COVID-safe, outdoor, winter market held at Starlight Square in Central Square, Cambridge. Opening on Small Business Saturday, November 28th, Popportunity will run every Saturday and Sunday, 11am - 5pm, through December 20th. Artists, makers, and retailers can apply for a 10x10 market tent or a Pop-Mini stall here.
Thank you to the Central Square Business Improvement District for providing a safe space where we can support our neighbors and our local economy.
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. 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:
- 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.)
Due to the Broad Institute (testing lab) holiday schedule, testing will not be available at City sites on the following dates:
- December 23, 24, and 25. (Testing will resume on Saturday, December 26)
- December 30, 31 and January 1. (Testing will resume on Saturday, January 2)
Additional testing sites on Monday, December 21 and December 28: In addition to testing at 50 Church Street in Harvard Square, there will be testing at CambridgeSide (vehicle entrance located at 88 First Street), from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on these days. Note: The CambridgeSide location is a drive-through testing site in the parking garage. For safety reasons, this site cannot accommodate anyone arriving by bicycle or on foot.
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
One in Eight of Our Cambridge Neighbors is Experiencing Hunger
Cambridge friends, one in eight of our neighbors are experiencing hunger and food insecurity, and while our food pantries are fighting to keep food on the table, they can't do it alone. This holiday season, give the gift of food security to your neighbors by supporting food access organizations and the newly launched Cambridge Challenge Against Hunger with a generous donation. With a gift of just $100, you can feed four families on Food For Free's Home Delivery program, and help bring a new meaning to the 'season of giving.' If you would like to donate, click here. For a full list of Cambridge organizations to donate to, click here.
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."
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.