I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 2,296 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 232,264 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 6,477 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 111,734 patients have been tested today, and 10,874 have passed away. Learn more here.
Save the date
I am hosting a town hall on adolescent mental health and the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic next Thursday 12/10 at 5PM. I will be joined by Roxann Mascoll, a mental health clinician, Keith Mascoll, an Actor, Producer, and Mental Health advocate and CRLS students. Keep an eye out for a link to register for the Zoom in the coming days, or join in by watching CCTV Channel 9 or Facebook Live. Please submit questions you have ahead of time to Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov, or submit them in the Q&A chat during the town hall. I hope to see you there.
To listen to Keith and Roxann’s podcast Living a Triggered Life Podcast, which is focuses on a Black couple who have their own trauma histories talk Love, mental health, relationships, and family dynamics as they explore the impact on their long term marriage, click here.
Keith has also worked on The Boys 2 Men Monologues project, which uses art to guide young men in writing a personal monologue including their thoughts about manhood, mental health, being black and brown during the Black Lives Matter movement, and being resilient. To learn more about the project, click here.
State Action Updates
Numbers continue to climb as Massachusetts reports 4,613 new COVID cases, 46 deaths, while hospitalizations increase to 1,259
State health officials confirmed another 4,613 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, pushing six days last month into the state’s record for the highest number of cases since the start of the pandemic. That brings the number of active cases statewide to 45,390. That’s based on 105,845 new molecular tests reported on Wednesday, according to the Department of Public Health. Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday said state health officials have identified 36 cluster outbreaks in places of worship across Massachusetts. Those clusters led to 316 confirmed cases and 150 close contacts, Baker said. Read more here.
Amid a tsunami of COVID-19 infections, strain on contact tracing grows. Should we keep trying?
Local health departments in Massachusetts, striving to track and prevent new COVID-19 infections amid an onslaught of new cases, are growing frustrated as testing turnaround times now stretch to a week in some cities and towns. The delays have made it more difficult for tracers to quickly reach potential contacts of infected residents, and increase the chances those infected will spread the virus in the interim. At the same time, the staffing available to make contact tracing calls is wearing thin. Read more here.
What Massachusetts residents think of the MBTA’s proposed cuts
The vast majority of Massachusetts residents say they do not regularly take public transportation. But that doesn’t mean they’re apathetic about the deep cuts the MBTA is proposing to make next year in the face of a historic budget shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a poll released Thursday by The MassINC Polling Group, nearly two-thirds of Massachusetts residents — including riders and non-riders — oppose the impending systemwide MBTA cuts, and roughly the same number say state lawmakers should allocate more funding to the transit agency so it can close its budget gap. Read more here.
Baker Press Conference Updates:
Baker Says State Plans to Launch Second Coronavirus Field Hospital in Lowell
The Worcester field hospital being readied amid a second surge of COVID-19 will have “a lot more capacity” than it did when it was active in the spring, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday morning, and it will be ready to take patients Sunday. “Field hospitals play a critical role in our preparedness strategy that helps us alleviate pressure on the health care system generally and enables hospitals to focus on non-COVID patients,” Baker said after touring the field hospital that the National Guard is establishing at the DCU Center in Worcester. At full capacity, it is expected to be able to accommodate 220 patients. Baker also announced he will have more to say soon about plans to establish a field hospital in Lowell in conjunction with Lowell General Hospital. Watch the announcement here.
Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here.
MIT COVID-19 information, click here
Black Cambridge & COVID-19
A Youth Roundtable with Becoming a Man this Sunday, December 6th at 1pm, with hosts Cambridge School Committee Vice-Chair Manikka Bowman and Former Mayor & City Councilor Denise Simmons. The series engages a cross-sector of Black leaders in the City of Cambridge, the state of COVID-19, and how the Black community survives the pandemic.
You can tune in Sunday, December 6th at 1:00pm by
- Pre-registering on zoom
- Watch on FB Live,
- CCTV’s Channel 9, cctvcambridge.org/channel09, or youtube.com/cctvcambridge
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 10×10 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
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:
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.