I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 1536 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 149,361 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 1025 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 2,665,975 patients have been tested, and 9,664 have passed away. Learn more here.
State Action Updates
Massachusetts Residents Impacted by Pandemic to Get $1,800 More in Unemployment Benefits
The Legislature passed a bill Monday intended to deliver $1,800 in unemployment pay to thousands of Massachusetts residents who previously didn’t qualify for bonus benefits from the federal government. Governor Charlie Baker signed the legislation shortly after approval. The federal Lost Wages Assistance program provided $300 a week, but only for laid-off workers who were already getting at least $100 a week in benefits from the state. Under the program, which used funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, about 695,000 claimants in Massachusetts received a total of $1.3 billion in six installments covering the weeks ended Aug. 1 through Sept. 5. The new legislation authorizes the Baker administration to boost state benefits to $100 a week, for those same six weeks, for recipients who didn’t qualify earlier for the FEMA money. Read more here.
New Massachusetts COVID numbers climb again; 1,216 new cases amid fears of ‘second wave’
Health officials confirmed another 1,216 coronavirus cases on Monday, marking the third straight day of more than 1,000 new cases. That’s based on 20,086 new molecular tests, according to the Department of Public Health. The seven-day average of positive tests has climbed to 1.6%, which is roughly double the rate it was at in September. There are currently 550 people hospitalizations for COVID-19, including 105 people in intensive care. The latest numbers come amid heightened concern that Massachusetts could be seeing a second wave of COVID infections heading into the winter. Read more here.
Youth Hockey Needs to Make Some Changes
Indoor ice rinks must remain closed through at least Nov. 7 under a Department of Public Health order issued last week after state health regulators linked more than 100 cases of the highly infectious coronavirus to ice hockey. During a Tuesday press conference, Gov. Charlie Baker and his health chief said their decision was prompted not only by the multiple clusters but also because some adults and coaches stymied the state’s attempts to get a grasp of how far transmission spread. A DPH investigation identified more than 30 COVID clusters linked to youth hockey, Baker said, with at least 110 confirmed cases and 22 more probable cases spread across at least 66 cities and towns. Those numbers are likely “undercounted,” Baker said, “due to the lack of cooperation” that met investigators. Read more here.
Governor Baker Press Conference Updates:
Governor Baker on Tuesday said that public health data has identified a dramatic increase in the rate of people under age 30 being diagnosed with COVID-19. Recently, the under-30 age group has become the biggest proportion of new cases. Whereas 15% of new cases in April were among people under age 30, now 37% of the new confirmed cases are people in that age group. About 38,000 people in that age group have been diagnosed since March. The governor attributed much of the spread in that age group to social gatherings, which he strongly discouraged. Baker's remarks came after the state reported more than 1,000 new cases for three consecutive days and six with a daily positivity rate of over 5%. Watch the announcement here.
CITY OF CAMBRIDGE BALLOT DROP BOXES TO BE LOCKED FROM 8 P.M. TO 7 A.M.
The Cambridge Election Commission announced today that enhanced security protocols will be in effect for the City’s six exterior ballot drop boxes. Beginning today, October 26, 2020, the Cambridge Police Department will increase the frequency of its routine monitoring of the ballot drop boxes, Cambridge Election Commissioners will increase the frequency the ballot drop boxes are emptied, and ballot drop boxes will be locked from 8 p.m. through 7 a.m. each day. These enhanced protocols are being implemented pursuant to an Election Directive issued by the Secretary of the Commonwealth on October 25, 2020, addressing increased concern over attempts to interfere with ballots and ballot drop boxes. Read more here.
CITY OF CAMBRIDGE EXTENDS RESTRICTIONS ON PUBLIC EVENTS THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2020
The City of Cambridge announced today that it is extending the current prohibition on City-sponsored community events, events permitted for the use of City parks, or other City-sponsored public gatherings through December 31, 2020. The City has not permitted events or gatherings through its special events process since March 16, 2020 and is continuing this prohibition as part of its overall COVID-19 prevention strategies. Read more here.
Cambridge Equity Fellowship
Have an idea and/or vision to address equity, injustice, oppression or racism — or to support people who are affected by injustice systemic oppression in Cambridge schools?
I want to share a cool opportunity with you called the Equity Collaborative. This is a program that gives students, educators, families and/or community members grants (ranging from $1,000-$5,000) to design and implement projects that aim to address issues of racism and inequity in schools. Folks can apply individually or as a group.
In-person early voting will run from Saturday, October 17th to Friday, October 30th, at 3 locations in Cambridge:
- Longfellow Community School - 359 Broadway, rear entrance
- Cambridge Water Department - 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
- Valente Library - 826 Cambridge Street, side entrance on Berkshire Street
- Weekdays, Monday to Friday - 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 17th, Sunday, Oct. 18th, and Sunday, Oct. 25th - 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 24th - 1:00 to 7:00 p.m.
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. Cambridge residents can get a free flu shot at the health department's public clinics. The first four clinics will be held indoors on Oct. 15, Oct. 21 (two clinics), and Oct. 22 at the King Open School, 850 Cambridge Street in the Wellington-Harrington neighborhood. Outdoor clinics will be held on Oct. 28-29 at Starlight Square (the parking lot at the corner of Norfolk St. and Bishop Allen Dr. in Central Square) and at Danehy Park/Fresh Pond Plaza on Nov. 14. 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:
- John the Evangelist Church, located at 2270 Massachusetts Avenue, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Wednesday, October 28.
- There is no testing on Saturday October 31 at the Pisani Center, located at 131 Washington Street. Testing will resume next Saturday. Please stay tuned for updates.
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
On Fridays, Cambridge CoHousing will be collecting food for the Chelsea Food Collaborative. Drop off is between 9 AM to 3:30 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:
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.