I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 1360 Cambridge residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 99 residents have passed away, according to the state’s database. Learn more here. There have been 125,723 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 244 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 2,096,043 patients have been tested, and 9,107 have passed away. Learn more here.
Earlier today, I participated in a panel hosted by the Museum of Science and GBH. Thank you to Joe Mathieu, anchor and executive editor of GBH's Morning Edition for moderating a discussion between Mathieu Bermingham, MD Metro West Center for Well Being and Children’s Services of Roxbury, Dr. Philip Wang of the Cambridge Health Alliance, and I on Children’s Mental Health: How Science Informs Policy. As discussed in the panel, we were falling short prior to the pandemic on meeting the behavioral health needs of children, and now we are seeing that the gap is even greater. We must make long-term investments in behavioral healthcare for children and provide necessary resources for educators, staff, and parents. If you weren’t able to tune in, you can watch a recording of the webinar here.
State Action Updates
Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey Riley wrote to school officials in 16 districts that are currently offering remote-only instruction and have COVID-19 transmission rates in the lowest-risk categories asking for information on when they will bring students back in-person.
Governor Baker Press Conference Updates:
Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today.
The City will expand payments from its COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Program from two months to four months of financial assistance. Anyone who was approved for the subsidy will automatically receive the two extra months of payments. New qualified applicants will receive a four-month subsidy for the amount that their housing cost exceeds 40% of their household’s income.
The City is extending its partnership with local restaurants to provide meals to homeless residents. Since the program started in March, over 70,000 meals have been provided. More than 2,800 meals are being delivered every week to shelters across Cambridge. Fifty Cambridge restaurants have participated in the program.
A new City ordinance will go into effect October 14th. Its purpose is to inform residents of housing rights and resources available to them. The City will be rolling out educational materials and forms that focus on responsibilities, tips, and resources in the coming weeks.
Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui submitted a policy order to host the U.S. Census Bureau at school meal sites through the end of September.
Mayor Siddiqui held a discussion on Housing Rights and Resources in Cambridge ahead of October 17th, when the state’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium will expire on how renters & landlords can work together to avoid evictions and the resources available to help.
The Cambridge Health Alliance is participating in the Massachusetts Opioid Screening & Awareness Day tomorrow, September 22nd. They will be holding a free virtual town hall from 9-11AM, where you can learn from experts about opioid use, treatment and local services. You can also find information on screenings and resources are available here.
The City is seeking feedback on the 2020 Cambridge Bicycle Plan update and on biking in Cambridge. A community needs survey for people who don’t ride a bike as much as they would like will be available until 10/10.
The City is extending outdoor dining until 60 days after the end of the Commonwealth’s declared state of emergency. The License Commission voted unanimously to automatically extend all currently issued permits for outdoor dining areas.
Where to Get Tested
Testing appointments through the City’s free mobile-testing program are now available at the following locations:
- Russell Youth and Community Center (formerly the West Cambridge Youth Center), 680 Huron Avenue, 10AM - 6PM on Wednesday 9/23 and Wednesday 9/30.
- Pisani Center located at 131 Washington Street, 11AM - 7PM, on Saturday, 9/26
You can schedule an appointment online or by calling 617-665-3795.
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, will hold a Benefit Bake tomorrow, 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:
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.