As of yesterday, March 24th, there were 24 cases of COVID-19 in Cambridge. Learn more here: https://bit.ly/2J2BnQj. There were 1159 cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, including 304 in Middlesex County. 13,749 patients total had been tested for COVID-19 in the state. 11 COVID-19 patients in Massachusetts have passed away. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/2WxWkL1.
Yesterday, Harvard University President Bacow disclosed that he and his wife have COVID-19. I am wishing them a strong recovery.
I have been working with the City of Cambridge on a task force led by Commissioner Bard to ensure that we have a safe place to treat individuals who are homeless and infected with COVID-19. Expect to hear more progress on this by the end of the week.
On Monday, I held the first of ongoing twice-weekly calls with a behavioral health working group to hear from a variety of stakeholders about the needs of the behavioral health community at this time.
Yesterday, I joined legislators on a call with Secretary Marylou Sudders, who is leading the COVID-19 Command Center where she provided updates and answered questions on preparedness and response to COVID-19.
The city has issued a temporary emergency order to prohibit the use of reusable shopping bags at essential stores in order to protect shoppers and employees from COVID-19. The usual 10 cent fee for bags will be waived. Learn more here: https://bit.ly/3bog9s9
Yesterday, Cambridge Police and Fire Departments assisted with distributing 50,000 Personal Protective Equipment masks and hand sanitizers to local hospitals. This PPE was donated by GCP Applied Technologies. Learn more here: https://bit.ly/3agO9Xq
State Action Updates
The state is now providing a texting service to send out COVID-19 updates. Text COVIDMA to 888-777 to receive these regular updates.
The Governor's administration has filed legislation that would provide relief to local governments impacted by COVID-19. This legislation would extend municipal tax deadlines, permit the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to modify or waive MCAS testing, modify the local permitting process, allow licensed establishments to sell beer and wine through take-out, and permit e-signatures for search warrants. Learn more here: https://bit.ly/2JdlSVS.
Public Health Updates
The Executive Office of Health and Human Services would like to remind you that all age groups can contract COVID-19. It is important to maintain social distancing in order to flatten the curve.
There are now 10 additional labs in Massachusetts testing for COVID-19.
The Department of Public Health has made 89 deliveries of equipment from the strategic national stockpile to healthcare facilities as of this morning.
Department of Transitional Assistance Update
You can now apply for TAFDC benefits and EAEDC benefits online. You can access online applications through the DTA Connect website here: https://bit.ly/3ahWXw8. You can also download the DTA Connect app, instructions on how to do so are here: https://bit.ly/2Uy7XPf.
Starting today, the Registry of Motor Vehicles is making a number of changes to reduce customer volumes at Service Centers. These changes include:
- Switching to an appointment only reservation system for necessary and required in-person transactions, including certain CDL license transactions and some new registrations. You can make an appointment here: https://bit.ly/2WFlYNR
- Conducting suspension hearings over the phone. You will still need to visit the RMV to apply for and initiate a suspension hearing.
- Suspending the issuance of new REAL ID's and non-commercial learner's permit exams until April 7th.
You can learn more about these changes and other changes that the RMV has made due to COVID-19 here: http://bit.ly/2x1ryzg.
Where to donate:
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 impacted by COVID-19:
Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund: https://bit.ly/3bgTBJU
Cambridge Community Foundation: https://bit.ly/
Food for Free: https://bit.ly/3afFuEE
Greater Boston Food Bank: https://www.gbfb.org/
If you are interested in seeing previous COVID-19 updates, you can find them here: https://www.decker4rep.
com/news/ As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov .