I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
Today’s Case Count
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The state has created an interactive dashboard, including the percentage of COVID-19 positive cases and testing rates by city and town. The dashboard can be viewed here.
For Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here.
For MIT COVID-19 information, click here.
Baker Press Conference Updates
Governor Baker announced today that weekly pooled COVID-19 testing is being implemented at about 950 schools in 159 districts across the Commonwealth, covering 300,000 teachers, students, and staff. The administration expects those numbers to increase significantly over the coming weeks as schools and districts obtain parental consent. Read more here.
You can watch the Governor’s COVID-19 update here.
Individuals who received the first dose of their vaccine at Carewell Urgent Care have been told that their appointments to receive their second doses have been canceled. The COVID-19 Response Command Center has stated the Administration is ensuring second doses to vaccinate all individuals who receive their first doses at vaccination clinics across the state, and the Command Center and the Department of Public Health are actively working with CareWell on their request for second doses.
A reminder that the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) is temporarily pausing scheduling any new first-dose appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine. This is based on guidance from the state, which has advised the hospital that it will not be able to supply CHA with additional first doses at this time. You will get a second dose if you’ve already been vaccinated at CHA. Another reminder that if you are a patient of Mount Auburn Hospital, and are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, check with your provider or on your patient portal as they are once again accepting patients for vaccination appointments.
Resources for Booking and Getting to Your Appointment
- Online: Go to vaxfinder.mass.gov/ or book directly at cvs.com. You can also visit macovidvaccines.com – even though it’s not an official site, it has been handling the increased traffic without crashing and it updates every 5 minutes.
- Phone: Call 2-1-1 between 8:30 AM and 8:00 PM Monday-Thursday or 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM Friday-Sunday and select the prompt for “help scheduling a vaccine appointment.” This multilingual service is for residents who don’t have Internet access or have trouble using the Internet.
- Need help? For detailed information about how to make an appointment, including updates about specific health care providers, see the Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services vaccine resources page. You can also visit macovidvaxhelp.com, which is an unofficial site staffed by volunteers for eligible individuals who are unable to book vaccine appointments on their own.
- Need a ride? Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is offering free transportation for local adults aged 65+ to COVID-19 vaccination sites in Cambridge and Somerville as well as Fenway Park and CHA Malden. For more information, click here. To register for a ride, call SCES at 617-628-2601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The City of Cambridge has published accessibility information for the state’s mass vaccination sites. You can find it here.
Don’t forget to book your second appointment while you’re getting your first dose!
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
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Massachusetts is currently in the middle of Phase Two of the vaccine rollout. The map of vaccination sites is here; you can search by zip code as well.
Phase Two will occur from February 2021 to March 2021. Priority groups are as follows:
- Individuals 75 or older (currently eligible)
- Individuals 65 or older, or with two or more comorbidities, and/or residents and staff of low income and affordable senior housing (currently eligible)
- Early education/daycare and K-12 workers, transit, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation and public health workers (not yet eligible)
- Individuals with one comorbidity (not yet eligible)
Phase Three will expand vaccination efforts to the general public.
For more details and updates on vaccination priorities, please visit mass.gov/CovidVaccine.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has a Frequently Asked Questions site that is continually updated as they receive new questions. You may access the FAQs here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-frequently-asked-questions. Questions can be submitted to COVID-19-Vaccine-Plan-MA@mass.gov.
COVID Testing Sites
Testing appointments through the City’s free mobile-testing program are available at the following locations:
- Monday – 50 Church St. 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
- Tuesday – 50 Church St. 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
- Wednesday – 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
- Thursday – CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM (Drive-through testing in garage. Enter on First St.)
- Friday – 50 Church St. 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
- Saturday – Christian Life Center located at 85 Bishop Allen Drive. 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
- 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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital and Castlight Health to launch a new tool earlier this week. The free online service, VaccineFinder, will allow users to look for locations offering vaccinations near where they live. Read more here.
The CDC also recently updated its guidelines for face masks. The recommendations include adjusting your mask to get a better fit or adding a second mask. Read more here.
Massachusetts will transition to Phase III, Step 2 of the reopening process on Monday, March 1. The updates include lifting the capacity limit on restaurants, raising capacity limits across other sectors to 50%, and reopening indoor performance venues and recreational activities at 50% capacity. Read more here.
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is launching a fifth survey of the state’s cultural institutions to take stock of the economic damage the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. More than 30,000 cultural sector jobs have been affected by COVID-19-related cancellations and closures, the organization said, and its November 2020 survey found a loss of more than $484 million in revenue for cultural organizations in Massachusetts. The survey will be open until Monday, March 1, 2021, and cultural organizations can fill it out here.
The Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General has announced the FY2022 Healthy Summer Youth Jobs Grant Program. Applicants may apply for grants to fund jobs for youth with core health and wellness components while also providing opportunities for professional enrichment. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 5, 2021. To learn more about this opportunity, click here.
Our community is grieving the loss of a CRLS student. If you have a young person in your life who needs mental health resources and support during this time, the Cambridge Teen Health Center can help. For appointments and more information on supports, click here. Another great resource is this guide created by the Riverside Trauma Center and Samaritans. Riverside also offers a 24-hour assistance by calling 1-888-851-2451 and selecting option #2 to be connected to a Trauma Center Manager. As always, if my office can provide additional resources and assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.
An Emergency Order was issued today by the City prohibiting live musical performances at restaurants until further notice and delaying the opening of indoor performance venues until March 22, 2021 in light of yesterday’s updates to the state’s reopening plan.
Local Parks Program
Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui announced that the Local Parks Program will begin the week of March 22 and run weekly through fall 2021. The program is held from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mondays at Sennott Park and from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Danehy park. As of Feb. 22, Elevate Youth is continuing to accept applications from families of 4th and 5th graders until capacity is met. For those who are interested, text “CAMBRIDGE” to 857-995-8050 or email Elevate Youth’s program coordinator Cam Regan at email@example.com. Read more here.
Cambridge Health Department Survey
The Cambridge Health Department wants to know how Cambridge residents feel about the COVID-19 vaccine. The survey is available in Amharic, Arabic, Bangla, Simplified Chinese, English, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish. You may access the survey here.
35th Annual MLK Brunch Virtual Program
The 35th Annual MLK Brunch, hosted by the Cambridge NAACP Branch, will be presented during the virtual program this Saturday, February 27, 2021, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Here is the link to attend. I will be part of the speaking program. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cambridge Works is a transitional jobs program for younger adults who have had difficulty finding a job. This program is ongoing and open to residents, must be age 18-35, without a college degree. The program is meant for those who have experienced difficulty finding jobs for any of the following reasons: limited work experience, a gap in work history, frustration with dead end jobs, or legal or personal issues. For additional information on the Cambridge Works program, click here.
Cambridge Library Services
Contactless holds pickup has resumed at all branches. The winter schedule includes a dedicated hour for seniors and at-risk individuals at the start of each service day at the Main Library. Details are available on the library website at www.cambridgema.gov/cpl. For assistance, call 617-349-4040 or email email@example.com.
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 either in a paper bag or small box for the Chelsea Food Collaborative. Drop off is between 9 AM and 2:30 PM at the entrance to CoHousing at 175 Richdale Ave, Cambridge, MA. If you don’t see someone at the moment you arrive, please leave it just inside the gate where we will have boxes marked “For Chelsea.”
Transition House in Need of Emergency Donations
If you are able to give to others during this time, I encourage you to look to additional places that are working to help those most affected by COVID-19:
- Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund
- Cambridge Health Alliance
- Cambridge Community Center
- Cambridge Community Foundation
- Food for Free
- Chelsea Food Collaborative
- Greater Boston Food Bank
- Hospitality Workers COVID-19 Emergency Fund
- 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.