I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 1,711 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 172,471 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 2,495 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 80,321 patients have been tested today, and 10,222 have passed away. Learn more here.
A note about Veterans Day
Today is Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of WWI. I have observed this day with my family, community, and Veterans since I was born. It's a day that many remember those lost in service. It's a day where we are mindful and thankful to those who serve our Armed Forces. As the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, I often reflect on the circumstances that left my then 17-year-old father drafted into a war he did not sign up to serve. I remember tearfully watching my dad when we first visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. I remember while others were grieving the loss of loved ones, comrades, and friends, I was grieving the life and opportunity that was stripped from my father and thousands of Veterans who "survived" and came home alive. I think of our Veterans who chose to enter service and for those who feel they have few other choices or paths to education or careers. I think of the continued growth rate of poverty that has consistently grown since the 1980s, for Veterans and their families. I think of the over 6000 Veterans annually who have committed suicide each year since 2008. Firearms were used for 70.7% of male Veteran suicide deaths and 43.2% of female Veteran suicide deaths in 2017. Over 37,000 Veterans were identified as homeless this year alone. I think of my own father who was homeless for a time, finally felt seen and understood when he found shelter at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. I think of the 76 Veterans who died at the Holyoke Soldiers Home due to COVID-19. 8 years ago, weeks after I announced I was running for State Representative, my father died living at the Bedford VA, and I think of the 41 Veterans who died there due to COVID-19. Our Veterans don't get to question Congress or challenge the President. Once, enlisted they train and prepare to serve and protect American interests. However questionable, we sometimes feel about their missions or mandate-they rely on us the voters to elect and hold Congress and the President accountable. I will always be deeply grateful and mindful of those who serve and the sacrifices many will endure. I ask that we collectively thank our Veterans every day by ensuring their safety and care are best represented by those we elect. Our gratitude will be hollow as long as our Veterans continue to fall into despair, live in poverty, struggle with addiction, and homelessness and die in our care.
State Action Updates
Veterans Day 2020: Vets balance need to remember with realities of COVID-19
This community, like places all over the country, will pause on Veterans Day to honor those who served. But unlike past remembrances in the 102-year history of the holiday, no one is inviting crowds, instead preferring to offer the ceremonies online or on TV or hosting in-person events by invitation only in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Veterans Day is always Nov. 11, the anniversary of the armistice ending World War I in 1918. The holiday was once known as Armistice Day. Read more here.
There will be a Veterans Day livestream at 10 a.m. that can be viewed here. Expect musical performances, an address from Gov. Charlie Baker, a prisoner of war/missing in action remembrance from Vietnam Navy veteran and former POW Timothy Sullivan and the keynote speaker, retired Army Maj. Gen. William “Bill” Chen.
Holyoke’s virtual Veterans Day honors those lost at Soldiers' Home, recognizes community leaders
The city’s virtual Veterans Day ceremony presented awards to community members and remembered those who died of COVID-19 at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke. The service is usually held at the War Memorial Building on Appleton Street. With the coronavirus pandemic raging nationally and limits on gatherings, the ceremony moved online, and was streamed on Facebook by the United Veterans of Holyoke. Christopher C. Sims, chair of the War Memorial Commission, presided over the program. Sims welcomed Mayor Alex B. Morse, City Council members and state Rep. Aaron Vega, D-Holyoke, who offered a brief statement. Vega thanked veterans and their families for their sacrifices, including his own relatives who served in the military. He honored the 76 Soldiers' Home residents who succumbed to COVID-19, seen by some as a preventable tragedy. Read more here.
Traces of coronavirus in Greater Boston wastewater samples approaching spring levels
Traces of coronavirus recorded in wastewater samples from the Boston metropolitan area in November show that the presence of the respiratory infection there is approaching spring levels, according to data from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. The data, depicted on a graph, shows a spike in viral RNA from wastewater samples in communities on the north and south sides of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority system. The authority embarked on a pilot study to measure viral particles in wastewater, sampling for data three times a week. Traces of the infection in the southern part of the system now appear higher than spring levels; on the northern part, viral samples are fast-approaching levels captured earlier this year. The graph shows that the presence of the virus in wastewater began rising at the beginning of October, which is when cases and the percentage of positive tests began increasing across the state. Read more here.
Baker Press Conference Updates:
Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today.
SCHEDULE A FLU SHOT AT DRIVE THROUGH CLINIC NOVEMBER 14 AT CAMBRIDGESIDE
Please Note: This clinic was originally scheduled to be held at Danehy Park but will now be at CambrdgeSide. This is a drive-through clinic that can be accessed by motor vehicle only through the garage. The site cannot accommodate anyone arriving by bicycle or on foot. Upcoming Drive-Through Flu Clinic
Saturday, November 14, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. (Appointment Required).
CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, Level 2 1/2 (enter at First and Spring St.)
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:
- CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 11:00am – 7:00pm (Drive-through testing in garage. Enter on First St.) Sundays and Thursdays
- 50 Church St. 12:00pm – 8:00pm (beginning November 9th) Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays
- 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church, 10:00am – 6:00pm Wednesdays
- Pisani Center located at 131 Washington Street. 11:00am – 7:00pm Saturdays
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 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."
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:
Cambridge Community Foundation
Cradles to Crayons Emergency Essentials 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
Union of Minority Neighborhoods
As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.