I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 2,718 Cambridge residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 102 residents have passed away, according to the state’s database. Learn more here. There have been 292,316 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 5,450 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 124,172 tests have been performed today, and 11,513 have passed away. Learn more here.
State Action Updates
Response to winter storm in Massachusetts complicated by COVID
Add snow removal to the list of things disrupted or at least complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Massachusetts is under a winter storm warning as state and municipal workers prepare for at least a foot of snow across much of the state. But the state likely will have some driver shortages during the storm, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said. She estimates the state will have 90% of its staff available as some people are isolating after contracting COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. The fast pace of snowfall projected by the National Weather Service could lead to slower snow treatment, but she said she doesn’t expect any geographic gaps in snow removal. Read more here.
Massachusetts reports 3,720 new COVID cases, 55 deaths on Tuesday as hospitalizations continue rising
State health officials confirmed another 3,720 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the number of active statewide cases to 72,587. That’s based on 61,236 new molecular tests reported on Tuesday, according to the Department of Public Health. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts stands at 286,866. Officials also announced another 55 COVID-related fatalities, bringing the total number of dead since the start of the pandemic to 11,190. Read more here.
New rules for live teaching meant to limit student isolation
New regulations adopted Tuesday after fraught discussion about student mental health and the concerns of teachers on the ground will set minimum requirements for how much live instruction Massachusetts schools must provide if they are still conducting at least some remote teaching. Set to take effect on Jan. 19, the rule will require schools that are operating in a remote model to provide at least some synchronous instruction — where students can directly interact with a teacher or their peers in real-time — each school day. Remote districts and schools will need to provide at least 40 hours of synchronous instruction over a 10-day period, averaged across grades. Read more here.
Baker Press Conference Updates:
Gov. Baker Urges Residents to Stay Home During Storm, Avoid ‘Treacherous’ Roads
Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday urged Massachusetts residents to stay at home during the upcoming winter storm, which is expected to deliver over a foot of snow across much of the state overnight and into Thursday. In today’s press conference, Baker said anyone who can stay at home during the storm should do so, saying it will allow road crews and essential workers do their work. Watch the announcement here.
New Transition Wellness Center Opens Today at Spaulding Hospital: Will Serve as Temporary Adult Homeless Shelter for NON-COVID-19 Residents
Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale announced today the opening of the Transition Wellness Center (TWC), a new temporary emergency homeless shelter at the Spaulding Hospital. Residents from the shelter at the War Memorial Recreational Center started to transition to the TWC on Wednesday, December 16. The City-funded TWC will host 58 beds and serve as an adult homeless shelter for guests who test negative for COVID-19. It will be located on the first and second floors of the east wing of the Spaulding Hospital, which is located at 1575 Cambridge Street and was vacant prior to the renovations. The City of Cambridge will fund the entirety of the shelter operation. This project is federal CARES Act funding eligible and the City expects to submit approximately $3.4 million for reimbursement to support this critical initiative. Read more here.
Remote Learning to Continue District-wide until at least January 4
Due to a rise in COVID-19 cases and the CPS metrics, CPS will continue in remote learning district-wide until at least January 4. This decision was made in consultation with the Cambridge Public Health Department in alignment with CPS’s COVID-19 metrics. Based on the Cambridge Public Health Department’s 4PM update today, one of our metrics, the 7-day average of daily new cases per 100,000, has now exceeded the threshold of 25 yesterday and today. (The CPS dashboard is in the process of updating). In order to re-open for in-person learning, we need to be below the threshold for two metrics for seven consecutive days, which will not be possible before the winter break begins on Thursday the 24th. Read more here.
Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here.
MIT COVID-19 information, click here
Popportunity is a COVID-safe, outdoor, winter market held at Starlight Square in Central Square, Cambridge. Opening on Small Business Saturday, November 28th, Popportunity will run every Saturday and Sunday, 11am – 5pm, through December 20th. Artists, makers, and retailers can apply for a 10×10 market tent or a Pop-Mini stall here.
Thank you to the Central Square Business Improvement District for providing a safe space where we can support our neighbors and our local economy.
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:
- Monday – 50 Church St. 12:00pm – 8:00pm
- Tuesday – 50 Church St. 12:00pm – 8:00pm
- Wednesday – 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church, 10:00am – 6:00pm
- Thursday – CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 11:00am – 7:00pm (Drive-through testing in garage. Enter on First St.)
- Friday – 50 Church St. 12:00pm – 8:00pm
- Saturday – Pisani Center located at 131 Washington Street. 11:00am – 7:00pm
- Sunday – CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 11:00am – 7:00pm (Drive-through testing in garage. Enter on First St.)
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
One in Eight of Our Cambridge Neighbors is Experiencing Hunger
Cambridge friends, one in eight of our neighbors are experiencing hunger and food insecurity, and while our food pantries are fighting to keep food on the table, they can’t do it alone. This holiday season, give the gift of food security to your neighbors by supporting food access organizations and the newly launched Cambridge Challenge Against Hunger with a generous donation. With a gift of just $100, you can feed four families on Food For Free’s Home Delivery program, and help bring a new meaning to the ‘season of giving.’ If you would like to donate, click here. For a full list of Cambridge organizations to donate to, click here.
Cambridge Community Center
In partnership with the Central Square BID, the Cambridge Community Center (CCC) has launched a safe, socially-distanced Food & Supply Pantry. The pantry is open Tuesdays – Fridays 1:00pm – 3:00pm at 5 Callender street, Cambridge MA (Gymnasium Entrance). The CCC have received generous food donations from our friends at Food For Free and Lovin’ Spoonfuls, and have been able to offer community members healthy options, including fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other quality grocery items. In addition to food donations, here are some other supplies that are in need for the pantry.
- Feminine hygiene products (preferably pads)
- General hygiene products (shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.)
- Toilet paper
- Household cleaning supplies
Even if you’re not able to donate to our COVID-19 Relief Fund, you can still support the pantry by spreading the word!
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.”
For the four upcoming Fridays (11/27, 12/4, 12/11, 12/18) Cambridge Cohousing invites you to donate a children’s book with your food donation — a new or in very new-like condition for children ages infant to 10 years old. Our partner in Chelsea is very grateful. They say that not only will the children benefit but also adults who are learning English or learning to read to and with their children. They will distribute during the holiday seasons coming up. Thanks for your continued support.
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.