I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources as well as recent legislative news.
Table of Contents
- COVID-19 Testing Information
- State Updates
- National Updates
- Cambridge Updates
- MA Vaccination Updates
- Vaccination Appointment Resources
- Today’s Case Count
- Legislative Updates
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
COVID-19 Testing Information
Saturday Tests Available in Cambridge by Appointment
- Visit https://www.cic-health.com/cambridge to make an appointment.
- You will need to create a new account. You will receive test results administered at this site through the CIC’s system.
- The testing site is at 295 Third Street
- Appointments will be released at 12:00 p.m. each Monday for Saturday testing.
- Questions should be directed to CIC’s Customer Service Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-280-2937.
Walk-In Cambridge COVID-19 Testing Sites
- Monday: 4:00 – 8:00 PM at the CambridgeSide mall
- Wednesday: 2:00 – 6:00 PM at 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church
- Thursday: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the CambridgeSide mall
- Sunday: 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM at 50 Church Street
As of November 1, the testing site at the CambridgeSide mall has returned to walk-in testing inside the mall. Learn more at cambridgema.gov/covid19/testing.
There will be no testing on the following dates due to the holidays:
- Thursday, December 23, 2021
- Saturday, December 25, 2021
- Thursday, December 30, 2021
- Saturday, January 1, 2022
State COVID-19 Testing
To find a COVID-19 testing site in Massachusetts, visit mass.gov/info-details/find-a-covid-19-test.
Omicron Variant Delays Announcement On Mass. School Mask Mandate
K-12 education commissioner Jeffrey Riley said Friday he wants to give the medical community more time to get a handle on the situation before deciding whether to again extend the school mask mandate. Learn more: https://ihr.fm/3E5OMkC.
2.1 Million At-Home COVID Tests for 102 High-Need Communities
On December 13, the Governor’s Administration announced 2.1 million iHealth Labs over-the-counter (OTC) at-home rapid antigen tests will be delivered to 102 towns with the highest percentage of families below the poverty level. These free tests will be available for distribution to the public by each municipality, with an emphasis on increasing access for individuals and families who are facing financial hardship. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3E8eTaq.
CDC recommends Pfizer, Moderna vaccines over J&J’s
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines to make clear that shots made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are preferred over Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. Learn more: https://cnn.it/3IYWUao.
CDC endorses schools’ coronavirus ‘test-to-stay’ policies
The CDC has endorsed “test-to-stay” policies that allow close contacts of students infected with the coronavirus to remain in classrooms if they test negative. It announced that test-to-stay programs and quarantining approaches are both equally good options for schools. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3yDWaCt.
Pfizer study tests extra Covid vaccine dose for kids under 5
Today, Pfizer announced that it is changing its plans and testing three doses of its Covid-19 vaccine in babies and preschoolers instead of the usual two after a preliminary analysis found two- to four-year-olds didn’t have as strong an immune response as expected to special low-dose shots. Learn more: https://cnb.cx/3J1faQo.
Cambridge Booster Clinic
The City of Cambridge is offering a COVID-19 vaccine clinic by appointment only on Monday, Dec. 20 from 4PM-8PM at the Cambridgeside Galleria for eligible people aged 18+ who live or work in Cambridge. Sign up here: https://t.co/lmBGqBTem4.
CHA Vaccinating Kids 5+
COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 and older are available at the Cambridge Health Alliance Vaccine Center in Somerville (next to Target). Due to high demand, vaccines are by appointment only. Visit bit.ly/3q1r4me to make an appointment. Clinic hours for the CHA Somerville Vaccine Center:
- Monday & Tuesday: 11:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Where to Get a COVID-19 Booster Shot
This is a list of a few places that we are familiar with that are offering COVID-19 boosters in/near Cambridge for eligible MA residents:
- Cambridge Health Alliance (Appointments required)
- CVS (Appointments required)
- 624 Mass. Ave (Central Square)
- Schedule here: bit.ly/3mgBACv.
- Star Market (Walk-ins or appointments)
- 699 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge
- Schedule here: bit.ly/3uujXTv.
- Search by zip-code for other locations https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/
MA Vaccination Updates
Vaccination Locations for Children Ages 5-11
- Pharmacies: CVS and Walgreens locations
- Mass General Brigham (for patients): covidvaccine.massgeneralbrigham.org/MA
- Boston Children’s Hospital (for patients): Schedule an appointment through the hospital’s MyChildren’s Patient Portal or call 617-919-7102.
- Atrius Health (for patients): Parents can schedule an appointment directly through MyHealth Online or call their child’s doctor’s office.
- Pediatricians’ Offices: Call your child’s doctor or nurse to determine vaccine availability.
- To see all Massachusetts vaccine locations and make appointments, go to vaxfinder.mass.gov or VaxAbilities.com for children with sensory and/or other accommodation needs.
Mobile Vaccination Services
You can find hours and dates for mobile vaccination clinics at t.ly/qTMc.
CHA Offering Walk-In Vaccinations
These sites are open to all Massachusetts residents age 12 and older:
- Cambridge Hospital
- East Cambridge Care Center
- Malden Care Center
CHA is also offering “pop-up” vaccination clinics – information on hours and locations here: https://www.challiance.org/patients-visitors/covid-19-vaccine.
Walk-In Vaccinations Available at CVS
Massachusetts residents age 12 and over can now get walk-in appointments at the 389 vaccine-carrying CVS locations across the Commonwealth.
Cambridge Vaccination Data
The City of Cambridge has added Cambridge Vaccination Data to its COVID-19 Data Center. Data will be updated weekly on Thursdays. Information as of Thursday, December 16, 2021:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 96,011
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 81,963
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 12,230,568
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 14,290,440
Vaccination Appointment Resources
Resources for Booking and Getting to Your Appointment
- Online: Visit vaxfinder.mass.gov/. You can also book directly with a pharmacy at cvs.com or walgreens.com.
- Phone: Call 2-1-1 between 8:30 AM-8:00 PM Monday-Thursday or 8:30 AM-5:00 PM Friday-Sunday and select the prompt for “help scheduling a vaccine appointment.”
- In-Home Vaccinations: Anyone who is unable to get to a vaccine location can call the Homebound Vaccination Central Intake Line at 833-983-0485 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday-Friday. Boosters are also available.
Booster Shots Available for Fully Vaccinated Adults
COVID-19 boosters are available for all fully vaccinated MA residents aged 16 years and older. Learn more at mass.gov/COVID19booster.
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. Questions can be submitted to COVID-19-Vaccine-Plan-MA@mass.gov.
Today’s Case Count
Total Cases: 933,908
New Cases: 6345
Total Deaths: 19,406
New Tests: 113,092
Total Cases: 9408
New Cases: 135
Total Deaths: 126
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.
Bills I have filed that are being heard next week
One of my bills has been scheduled for legislative hearings next week: An Act to increase family stabilization through the earned income tax credit. The hearing schedule is available at malegislature.gov, where hearings will be livestreamed and available for viewing after they conclude.
Framingham extends school recess while state mandate languishes on Beacon Hill
Framingham’s School Committee has voted to double recess time for elementary school students next year to 30 minutes a day, even longer than the federal government recommends. In the last decade, at least eight states have passed laws to mandate recess for elementary schoolers. Massachusetts State Rep. Marjorie C. Decker introduced a bill in 2017 to require at least 20 minutes of recess for elementary school students, but it wasn’t enacted. Read more: https://www.wgbh.org/news/education/
Mental Health Services and Resources
If you or a loved one are struggling, please know that you are not alone. There are some great resources here: decker4rep.com/2021/mental-health-services-and-resources/.
Intimate Partner Abuse Prevention Helpline For MA residents
Thanks to COVID-19 relief funds from the CARES ACT, Massachusetts now has a Helpline that people can call for help rather than harming their partner. Open to any resident, the helpline is the first in the nation of its kind. This initiative is designed to prevent intimate partner violence by fostering accountability and change in people who harm or may harm their intimate partner. You can find more information at 10to10helpline.org or by calling 877-898-3411.
Where to Give
If you are able to give to others during this time, I encourage you to look to places that are working to help those most affected by COVID-19: decker4rep.com/2021/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: decker4rep.com/2021/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.