I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 1394 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 129,243 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 450 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 2,219,798 patients have been tested, and 9,210 have passed away. Learn more here.
State Action Updates
Attorney General Maura Healey issued guidance for customers who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to pay home heating bills. The Attorney General’s Office has also opened the application period for its Natural Gas Fuel Assistance Grant, which provides funding for programs and initiatives designed to help low-income residents with paying or lowering their natural gas heating bills.
The rate of positive COVID-19 tests in Massachusetts has surged, surpassing 3% in recent days. This is up from a low of .9% a month ago. Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, stated that these metrics have caused him concern in a way he has not been in months.
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley addressed the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and said that DESE has told superintendents that they do anticipate administering the MCAS this spring. In full disclosure, I anticipate filing language by the end of the year that will call for a one year suspension in MCAS. Teachers continue to have a variety of metrics to assess students both ones that are required by the State along with School District assessments. More on this to follow.
Registration for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Massachusetts Annual State Convention on October 23rd & October 24th is now open. This event is free and will include a keynote panel, four workshops, a virtual vendor showcase, and the Annual Meeting & Board of Directors Election.
Governor Baker Press Conference Updates:
Governor Baker held a press conference today. He announced that starting October 5th, lower-risk communities will be allowed to begin step two phase three of reopening. This means that the following guidance will go into effect for low-risk communities:
Indoor performance venues will be permitted to open with 50% capacity (max. capacity of 250)
Outdoor performance venue capacity will increase to 50% (max. capacity of 250)
For arcades and indoor and outdoor recreation businesses, capacity will increase to 50% and activities like trampolines, obstacle courses, roller rinks and laser tag will be allowed to reopen
Fitting rooms in retail stores will be allowed to open
Gyms, museums, libraries and driving and flight schools may increase their capacity to 50%
He also announced a revised gatherings order. Outdoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings will now have a limit of 100 people in lower-risk, step two communities. The limit in communities that remain in step one is 50. The limit for indoor gatherings will remain at a maximum of 25 people in all communities, and outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards will remain at a maximum of 50 people in all communities.
There will be a Family Resource Fair this Saturday 10/3 from 10AM-12PM at the Putnam Ave. Upper School. Back to school information, technology support, safety information, and grab and go items will be available.
The Housing Division of the Community Development Department will hold a virtual housing information session about the City's Affordable Rental and Home Ownership Programs on October 8th from 12-2PM. You must register for the Zoom in advance.
The Cambridge Water Department has posted water conservation tips in light of the Level 2 – Significant Drought in the state that was declared on September 4th.
Where to Get Tested
Testing appointments through the City’s free mobile-testing program are now available at the following locations:
King Open School, 850 Cambridge Street, 10AM-12PM on Tuesday, October 6 and Thursday, October 8.
Pisani Center, 131 Washington Street, 11AM-7PM, on October 3 and 10.
You can schedule an appointment online or by calling 617-665-3795.
The state’s Stop the Spread initiative provides no-cost testing in communities across the state that have continued to see a higher number of residents testing positive for COVID-19. Stop the Spread testing sites are open to ALL Massachusetts residents and are not restricted to residents of the cities where sites are located. You do not need to have any symptoms to be tested. Find more information about locations and hours here. Current Stop the Spread communities are: Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Framingham, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lynn, Marlborough, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Salem, Saugus, Springfield, Winthrop, and Worcester.
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.
Federal Action Updates
The Secretary of Commerce has announced a new target date of October 5th to conclude 2020 Census self-response and field data collection operations.
Where to Give
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.