Wednesday 10/7 COVID-19 Update

Dear all,

I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.

As of today, 1425 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 133,868  total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 509 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 2,346,790 patients have been tested, and 9,342 have passed away. Learn more here.

State Action Updates

Today, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced delays in the next phase of in-person school as the coronavirus positivity rate rises to 4.1 percent.  Students in the Oct. 15 cohort,  3-to-5-year-olds in grades K0, K1, and K2 — will now start no sooner than Oct. 22nd.  Students who have already started in person classes will continue to do so. Boston Public Schools started the year on Sept. 21 with remote-only instruction and brought back the first students for in-person learning less than a week ago, on Oct. 1. Last week, 3,419 of the district’s 50,000 students were slated to begin in-person classes, and another 3,321 were expected to begin this past Monday. Daily in-person attendance has been about 1,300 students, according to the district.  City officials will reevaluate the coronavirus data before that date to determine whether it is safe for students to begin in-person instruction.

Also today, Revenue Commissioner Geoffrey Snyder presented the latest Massachusetts economic forecast during a revenue hearing. State tax collections this fiscal year could range anywhere from $25.9 billion to $29.8 billion and projections point to a likelihood that the state will see a year-over-year decline in tax receipts.The estimates all fall below the $31.15 billion revenue estimate that the Ways and Means Committee chairs and Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget office agreed to in January, before COVID-19 took hold in the United States, leading to widespread business closures and restrictions and a steep economic downturn. The projections received today  also reflect a host of unpredictable factors that experts said will shape the state and national fiscal pictures, including the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic and future federal government policies and actions.The state Department of Revenue projected a tax haul in the range of $25.918 billion to $28.387 billion. Three other speakers offered estimates in the area of $29 billion, shy of the $29.596 billion collected in fiscal 2020. “If we can’t get the spread of the virus down, we cannot maintain much confidence that we can safely return to a full-throated economic activity,” said Jeffrey Thompson of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Which is why Commissioner Snyder offered it’s very challenging to predict with certainty what the total drop in revenue will be, predicting a range of anywhere from 4.1 % to 12.4 % from fiscal 2020 collections, or $2.764 billion to $5.233 billion below initial fiscal 2021 estimates.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health MA-DPH would  like you to take the COVID-19 community impact survey. DPH is trying to better help people through the COVID-19 crisis by hearing about their experiences and challenges right now. By taking the COVID-19 Community Impact Survey, you will help MA-DPH act and address the most critical needs, partner with communities to support local efforts, and inform state policy with accurate information on what people need now and in the long term. Results will be available to community-based organizations for their own planning and action purposes.

This survey is open to Massachusetts residents age 14 and older and takes 10-15 minutes to complete.  Currently, the survey is available in six of the most common languages spoken in the state: English, Chinese (standard and traditional), Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and Vietnamese.

Take the COVID-19 Community Impact Survey

Governor Baker Press Conference Updates:

Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today.

Cambridge Updates

Beginning today, Cambridge is installing six official ballot drop boxes. To provide Cambridge voters with additional options for returning their voted and sealed ballots, the City of Cambridge Election Commission has secured six (6) exterior official ballot drop box locations for the upcoming election to ensure the 2020 State/Presidential Election.

Crews from the City’s Department of Public Works are completing the installation this week. The ballot drop boxes are accessible, secure, and safe for voters and election workers.  The drop boxes will be available for use by Cambridge voters beginning on Friday, October 9, 2020 through Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

Official ballot drop boxes will be available at the following locations for Cambridge voters:

  • City Hall – Near the back door of the building located at 795 Massachusetts Avenue

  • Morse School – Near the front entrance of the building located at 40 Granite Street

  • Cambridge Police Headquarters – Right-side of the front of the building located at 125 6th Street

  • Maria L. Baldwin School – Right-side of the Oxford Street entrance of the building located at 28 Sacramento Street

  • O’Neill Library – Adjacent to the entrance stairs of the building located at 70 Rindge Avenue

  • Coffon Building – Right-side of the front of the building located at 51 Inman Street (available beginning Wednesday, October 7)

Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10, 2020 and the Cambridge Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) to promote this year’s campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” The campaign works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.You can learn more here.

The city amended the temporary emergency order requiring the wearing of face masks. With the amended order, anyone age two or older must wear a mask or face covering at all times when on or in public places beginning on September 30. Public places include sidewalks, streets, parks, plazas, bus stops, non-residential parking lots and garages, and any other outdoor area or non-residential parking facility which is open and accessible to the general public The newly amended order replaces the City’s previous provision, which allowed people to remove face masks or coverings while outside during the summer months in Cambridge when a physical distance of at least 6 feet could be maintained at all times. The order goes into effect at 12:00 a.m. on October 2, 2020  You can read more information about it here..

Where to Get Tested

Testing appointments through the City’s free mobile-testing program are now available at the following locations:

  • Russell Youth and Community Center (formerly the West Cambridge Youth Center), 680 Huron Avenue, 10AM – 6PM on Wednesday 9/23 and Wednesday 9/30.

  • Pisani Center located at 131 Washington Street, 11AM – 7PM, on Saturday, 9/26

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.

Where to Give

Food for Free, an organization that has been essential in helping to meet the needs of growing hunger insecurity in our community, is holding a Benefit Bake today, 9/22 with Flatbread Co. Somerville at 45 Day Street. When you order flatbreads, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Food for Free. Pickup, delivery, and outdoor dining will be available.

  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:

Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund

Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Community Foundation

Food for Free

Greater Boston Food Bank

Cradles to Crayons Emergency Essentials Fund

Mount Auburn Hospital

The One Chelsea 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

Prisoners’ Legal Services

Boston NAACP

Massachusetts Bail Fund

ACLU of Massachusetts

Union of Minority Neighborhoods

As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.  

Sincerely,

Marjorie

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