I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
Zero Communities at High Risk for COVID-19
According to the state’s Weekly Status Map, there are currently no Massachusetts cities or towns at high risk for COVID-19 transmission. Last week, Tisbury was the only town with that designation. The number of high-risk cities and towns peaked at 229 over the winter. Visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting for more information.
$109 in Federal Aid Going to Four MA Communities
The Baker-Polito Administration has announced that $109 million in discretionary funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will be distributed today to Chelsea, Everett, Methuen and Randolph. These four communities were among the hardest hit by COVID-19, but were set to receive disproportionately smaller amounts of federal funding due to shortcomings in the ARPA funding formula. Read more at https://bit.ly/3iftY2H.
CDC Director Urges Teens to Get Vaccinated
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky is urging teenagers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as data show increased hospitalization rates of teenagers with COVID-19 in March and April. Dr. Walensky encourages families and friends of teenagers to talk with them about COVID prevention strategies and about the importance of getting vaccinated. Read more at https://wapo.st/34P9YvW.
AAP Recommends That Kids Keep Wearing Masks
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website healthychildren.org has a page addressing the question, “Does my unvaccinated child still have to wear a mask when the rest of the family doesn’t?” The response is that children and adolescents who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 should continue to wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible. Vaccinated adults and older children should consider modeling mask-wearing behavior in support. See the whole discussion at https://bit.ly/2RHpwyZ.
Some of you have asked about what seems like potentially contradictory information regarding kids wearing masks. Our job is to provide information as we receive it from the state and from the federal government. If you want to know my opinion, I have two kids, one who is vaccinated and one who is not. Both play youth sports, and we will continue to have our kids wear masks when they are playing sports, on the sidelines, and in the dugouts. I hope the information that’s been provided in my daily newsletters is helpful, and that you will choose how to best interpret it for your family.
City Will Resume Permitting for Special Events, Use of City Parks on June 15
The City of Cambridge will resume permitting for special events and the use of City parks on June 15, when the Commonwealth’s State of Emergency ends. That includes permits for block parties, athletic field use, and BBQ use. To learn about how to apply and whom to contact for more information, go to https://bit.ly/3cBCm9p.
Cambridge Offering COVID Testing & Vaccinations 4 Days Per Week
As of June 1, the City of Cambridge is offering free COVID-19 testing 4 days per week on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with modified hours. The sites will offer testing and vaccinations (single-dose J&J) simultaneously through June. Read more at https://bit.ly/3vkFrlf.
Second Dose Student Vaccine Clinic June 16
The Cambridge Public Health Department and Cambridge Public Schools is holding a dedicated vaccine clinic for CPS students age 12 and older to receive their second dose on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. The clinic will run from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Read more and register at https://www.cpsd.us/vaccine.
Baker Announces Federal Dollars for Hard-Hit Communities
Governor Baker held a press conference today to announce that his administration is distributing $109 million in federal aid funding today to four communities that have been hard-hit by COVID-19. See State Updates above for more details. You can watch the Governor’s latest updates at mass.gov/governor-updates.
MA Vaccination Updates
Market Basket Vaccine Clinics
There will be COVID-19 vaccine clinics set up in the parking lots of Market Basket stores in Chelsea, Fall River, Lawrence, Lynn and Revere on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week and next week. No appointment is necessary. Anyone who gets a shot at one of these clinics will also receive a $25 Market Basket gift card. See the full clinic schedule here: CIC-health.com/marketbasket.
CHA Offering Walk-In Vaccinations
The Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) is offering walk-in vaccinations at its three sites (176 Somerville Ave. in Somerville, Encore Boston Harbor in Everett and Tufts University in Medford, see https://bit.ly/3eM3TGF for locations and hours). These sites are open to all Massachusetts residents age 12 and older. They encourage people to pre-register here or via MyCHArt (for CHA patients), but walk-ins are welcome. As a reminder, only the Pfizer vaccine is currently approved for use in people under 18 years old, and minors must have a consent form signed by their parent or guardian.
Walk-In Vaccinations Available at Mass Vax Sites & CVS
Massachusetts residents age 12 and over can now get COVID-19 vaccines at all seven mass vaccination sites. People can still make appointments or see walk-in information at vaxfinder.mass.gov. Walk-in appointments are also available at the 389 vaccine-carrying CVS locations across the Commonwealth. Read more here.
Closing Dates for Mass Vaccination Sites
The Baker-Polito Administration has announced its timeline for ramping down mass vaccination sites. The currently planned closing dates at each site are:
- Gillette Stadium: June 14
- Hynes Convention Center: June 22
- Natick Mall: June 23
- Reggie Lewis Center: June 27
- Doubletree in Danvers: June 30
- Eastfield Mall in Springfield: July 6
- Former Circuit City in Dartmouth: July 13
Cambridge Vaccination Data
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 77,975
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 66,037
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 7,964,898
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 9,316,650
Vaccination Appointment Resources
Preparing for your Vaccination Appointment
Learn about how you can prepare for your vaccination appointment here.
Resources for Booking and Getting to Your Appointment
- Online: Find an appointment or see walk-in availability at vaxfinder.mass.gov/. You can also book directly with a pharmacy at cvs.com or walgreens.com or visit macovidvaccines.com, which is not an official site but is more user-friendly than the state site.
- 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.
- 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 60+ 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 email@example.com.
- All MassHealth members or Health Safety Net patients can get free transportation to COVID-19 vaccine appointments. You can request transportation for a scheduled appointment by calling (800) 841-2900. You may find additional information on transportation help here.
- 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!
Massachusetts is currently in Phase Three of the vaccine rollout. Everyone age 12 and older is eligible for a vaccine. 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. Questions can be submitted to COVID-19-Vaccine-Plan-MA@mass.gov.
Today’s Case Count
Total Cases: 661,812
New Cases: 177
Total Deaths: 17,540
Total Cases: 6,266
New Cases: 4
Total Deaths: 123
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.
June Schedule for Cambridge COVID Testing & Vaccination Sites
Each site will offer both COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 vaccinations simultaneously for the month of June, while supplies last. These sites will only be using the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine, so you will not need to return for a second shot:
- 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
- CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM. (Drive-through testing by motor vehicle in the garage. Enter on First St. For safety reasons, this site cannot accommodate anyone arriving by bicycle or on foot).
- 85 Bishop Allen Drive, Christian Life Center (owned and operated by St. Paul’s AME), 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.
- CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM. (Drive-through testing by motor vehicle in the garage. Enter on First St. For Safety Reasons, this site cannot accommodate anyone arriving by bicycle or on foot).
No identification or Social Security number is required. All sites are wheelchair accessible.
Learn more at https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19/Testing
Mental Health Services and Resources
If you or a loved one are struggling, please know that you are not alone. Here are some great resources:
Helpline for People Who Abuse
There is a new Helpline for People Who Abuse that launched on April 15, 2021, that came out of CARES ACT funding for COVID-19. The Helpline is currently open to any resident of western Massachusetts, however they plan to expand to more residents within the Commonwealth. This helpline is the first in the nation of its kind, and is based out of Western Massachusetts. You can find more information here.
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 Avenue, 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.