I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 2,523 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 264,454 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 5,130 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 97,353 patients have been tested today, and 11,209 have passed away. Learn more here.
Sending my warmest wishes to everyone celebrating the first night of Hanukkah.
Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker announced a 3 phase COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan. The 1st round of vaccine shipments to MA are expected to begin around 12/15. The vaccine will be free and insurance won’t charge copayments/out-of-pocket costs. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and the state’s vaccination phases plan here: https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine-in-massachusetts
State Action Updates
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upholds Gov. Charlie Baker’s executive orders to combat COVID pandemic
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday upheld Gov. Charlie Baker’s use of emergency executive orders to close certain businesses, implement curfews and make other changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a 41-page decision authored by Justice Elspeth Cypher, the state’s highest court wrote that Baker’s declaration of a state of emergency did not infringe on other branches of state government or violate residents’ First Amendment rights. Read more here.
Employers slow to inform state about leave law contacts
With just more than three weeks until new paid family and medical leave benefits become available to Massachusetts workers, about half of the state’s employers still have not told the state who will be in charge of administering the benefits for their workers, the head of the Department of Family and Medical Leave said Wednesday. During a virtual event with Prince Lobel’s Employment Law Group, DFML Director William Alpine said that roughly 50 percent of the companies in Massachusetts have still not provided his department with leave administrator contact information, which DFML had asked companies to provide by Oct. 31. The maximum weekly benefit will be $850. Benefits will become available on Jan. 1, 2021, for workers seeking time off to bond with a new child, take care of a sick or injured service member or to tend to a serious personal health condition. Benefits will be made available for workers to care for a family member with a serious health condition on July 1, 2021. Read more here.
State-Run Data System Will Track Mass. Vaccine Patients And Remind Them When To Get Their 2nd Dose
After the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, Massachusetts public health officials built a state-of-the-art data system for its vaccine programs. That system soon will be put to the test as the state deploys its COVID-19 immunization campaign. The Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS) facilitates vaccine ordering and also tracks the status of patients receiving the vaccine. It is designed to offer patients helpful reminders for when they need to get the critical final dose of the vaccine. The MIIS data system, which first rolled out in 2011, is now fully operational, DPH officials said. It is meant to establish "a complete, accurate, secure, real-time immunization record for residents of Massachusetts of all ages," they added. Read more here.
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
Good Riddance 2020
The Cambridge Historical Society wants you to break free from 2020′s relentless negativity, safely and socially distanced with their Good Riddance 2020 event. This has been a hard year for everyone. This is your chance to commemorate your own journey, let it go, and move into 2021 with a fresh perspective. Drop by their headquarters to write down the things you wish to leave behind from 2020. Your thoughts will be run through a shredder and recycled. Then write down your hopes, dreams, and wishes on a piece of seeded paper – all that you have learned and gained from 2020 that you want to take with you into 2021. Take home your creation and plant it. Then tag the Cambridge Historical Society on social media with photos of your seedlings as they grow using #seedlingsofhope. Learn more about the event here.
- When: Saturday, December 12 from 2-4 pm (Weather date Dec 13, 2-4 pm)
- Where: Cambridge Historical Society, 159 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138
- Cost: FREE, all are welcome
- Help us build a playlist for the event by sharing what song sums up 2020 for you using #goodriddancemixtape. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to offer your suggestions.
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.)
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."
For the four upcoming Fridays (11/27, 12/4, 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.