I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 2,480 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 259,324 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 5,675 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 109,009 patients have been tested today, and 11,166 have passed away. Learn more here.
Save the date
I am hosting a town hall on adolescent mental health and the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic next Thursday 12/10 at 5PM. I will be joined by Roxann Mascoll, a mental health clinician, Keith Mascoll, an Actor, Producer, and Mental Health advocate and CRLS students. Keep an eye out for a link to register for the Zoom in the coming days, or join in by watching CCTV Channel 8 or Facebook Live. Please submit questions you have ahead of time to Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov, or submit them in the Q&A chat during the town hall. I hope to see you there.
To listen to Keith and Roxann’s podcast Living a Triggered Life Podcast, which is focuses on a Black couple who have their own trauma histories talk Love, mental health, relationships, and family dynamics as they explore the impact on their long term marriage, click here.
Keith has also worked on The Boys 2 Men Monologues project, which uses art to guide young men in writing a personal monologue including their thoughts about manhood, mental health, being black and brown during the Black Lives Matter movement, and being resilient. To learn more about the project, click here.
State Action Updates
Mass. Vaccine Rollout Plan Will Be In 3 Phases.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday that Massachusetts will roll out the COVID-19 vaccine in three phases, with the general public getting access as early as April. The plan relies on the Food and Drug Administration approval, which is expected to happen soon. The vaccine will be free and insurance companies will not charge any copayments or out-of-pocket costs, Baker said. Baker’s office says the COVID-19 advisory group had three priorities: preserving the healthcare system, limiting severe illness and death, and promoting equity. COVID-facing healthcare workers include those in food service and environmental workers (those who clean and sanitize hospital facilities), not just doctors and nurses. Communities that have seen a disproportionate impact from COVID will get an additional 20% in vaccine supply. To learn more about the Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan, click here.
Mass. Confirms 89 New COVID Deaths, Most in 1 Day This Fall
Massachusetts reported 89 coronavirus deaths Wednesday, its highest number in a single day this fall. There were 5,675 new cases of the virus reported by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. There have now been 10,922 confirmed deaths and 259,324 cases, according to the DPH. Another 244 deaths are considered probably linked to COVID-19. Massachusetts hasn't reported this many deaths in one day since May, according to archival data. The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, has ticked up to 5.9%, according to the report. The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased to 1,576. Of that number, 308 were listed as being in intensive care units and 162 are intubated, according to DPH. Read more here.
11 employees test positive for COVID-19 at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home
The state on Tuesday reported that 11 staff at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home have tested positive for COVID-19 as the facility announced plans to test employees and residents twice each week. “Increased testing frequency will allow us to detect COVID-19 early and will continue until the Home receives 14 consecutive days of negative results,” Brooke Karanovich, spokeswoman for the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. Tests are pending for 38 veterans, and last week the state reported one veteran and three staff members had tested positive. Read more here.
Baker Press Conference Updates:
Baker-Polito Administration Announces Initial Steps for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced allocation and distribution plans for the first round of COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Massachusetts set to begin around December 15. The state’s first shipment of 59,475 doses of the Pfizer vaccine was ordered from the federal government this past Friday and will be delivered directly to 21 hospitals across 8 counties, as well as to the Department of Public Health Immunization lab. Doses will then be redistributed for access to 74 hospitals across all 14 counties for front line medical workers. The next 40,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine will be allocated to the Federal Pharmacy Program to begin vaccinating staff and residents of skilled nursing facilities, rest homes and assisted living residences. The vaccine is being prioritized for these groups to maximize life preservation and to support the health care system. Watch the announcement here.
Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here.
MIT COVID-19 information, click here
Good Riddance 2020
The Cambridge Historical Society wants you to break free from 2020′s relentless negativity, safely and socially distanced with their Good Riddance 2020 event. This has been a hard year for everyone. This is your chance to commemorate your own journey, let it go, and move into 2021 with a fresh perspective. Drop by their headquarters to write down the things you wish to leave behind from 2020. Your thoughts will be run through a shredder and recycled. Then write down your hopes, dreams, and wishes on a piece of seeded paper – all that you have learned and gained from 2020 that you want to take with you into 2021. Take home your creation and plant it. Then tag the Cambridge Historical Society on social media with photos of your seedlings as they grow using #seedlingsofhope. Learn more about the event here.
- When: Saturday, December 12 from 2-4 pm (Weather date Dec 13, 2-4 pm)
- Where: Cambridge Historical Society, 159 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138
- Cost: FREE, all are welcome
- Help us build a playlist for the event by sharing what song sums up 2020 for you using #goodriddancemixtape. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to offer your suggestions.
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 10x10 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.
A Collective Kindness Effort
Cambridge Camping has been serving low-income families for 127 years. I feel honored to be an alum of their summer camp program. Now, more than ever, our children need support, connection to mentors and peers, and the opportunity to create and share joy. Since COVID, CCA has innovated to support its families, providing necessary services – diapers, food, school supplies - and safely offered in person and virtual programming. Cambridge Camping has risen to the COVID challenge and proven that relationships and connection are stronger than any virus.
As we enter this season of giving and gratitude, CCA is grateful for the support we’ve received to date, yet we are $3,000 away from our goal which will allow us to provide gift baskets of hearty holiday food and toys to camper families. Please help us raise $3,000 by December 15 and together we will bring joy and much needed essential relief. If you cannot contribute, please share and join us in our wish for a peaceful, healthy 2021. Donate here today.
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.