I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources. There will be no newsletter on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.
I will spend this weekend thinking of those who died in service on the battlefield & at home. Memorial Day for millions of Americans is a holiday that provides us with a day to honor & remember the sacrifices of our enlisted & the hardship endured by many of our military families. When we ask them to risk their lives, it is our responsibility to ensure that we trust elected officials making those decisions. My gratitude for those who serve at the behest of those elected is deep and enduring. I hope that we can all take a moment to think about this responsibility and sacrifice. Wishing you a safe Memorial Day.
Massachusetts Schools Required to Hold In-Person Classes Next Fall
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will require all schools and districts to hold classes in-person next fall and will issue health and safety recommendations over the summer in consultation with the Department of Public Health. Districts and schools must continue COVID-19 mitigation strategies including indoor masking and physical distancing through the end of this school year. Read more at https://wbur.fm/3yJL52w.
State Will Provide Pandemic EBT Benefits Through Summer 2021
Massachusetts has received federal approval to continue providing Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits to families through summer 2021. These benefits will support more than 650,000 children, bringing $280 million into the Commonwealth. All students who have received P-EBT will receive a total of $375 in P-EBT benefits in two equal payments of $187.50 this summer, first on July 1 and then on August 1. Read more at https://bit.ly/3oXqL9o.
Museum of Science Vaccination Clinic Tomorrow
The Museum of Science will hold a vaccination clinic tomorrow, May 29 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, where visitors receiving a vaccine will be provided with free parking and two free tickets to the museum, which can be used for a future date. Advanced registration is encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. Visit https://www.cic-health.com/mos to book an appointment. Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available.
Baker Officially Lifts COVID Restrictions Starting Tomorrow
Governor Baker held a press conference today to formally declare the lifting of COVID restrictions as of tomorrow, May 29, 2021 and the termination of the State of Emergency, effective June 15, 2021. All industries will be permitted to open to full capacity this weekend and indoor and outdoor gathering limits will be rescinded. Fully vaccinated people won’t need to wear face masks except in certain settings, while people who haven’t been vaccinated yet will be advised to continue wearing masks. You can watch the Governor's latest updates here.
CDC Updates Summer Camp Guidance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published updated guidance for summer camps at https://bit.ly/3cBAWIS. There is guidance for camps where everyone is fully vaccinated, for camps where not everyone is fully vaccinated, for day camps and for overnight camps.
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.
Cambridge Public Library Opening for Express Services June 2
The Main branch of the Cambridge Public Library will open on June 2, 2021 for express services, including limited browsing. Contactless pickup at the Main Library will end on May 29, 2021 to prepare for in-library services. Masks will be required through June 15, 2021. Visit https://camb.ma/3oR8z1g for more information.
Cambridge Reducing COVID Testing to 4 Days Per Week in June; Sites Will Also Offer Vaccinations
Beginning in June, the City of Cambridge will offer free testing 4 days per week on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with modified hours. The sites will offer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations (single-dose J&J) simultaneously through June. Testing sites will be closed on Monday, May 31, 2021 in observance of Memorial Day. Read more at https://bit.ly/3vkFrlf.
Youth Sports Mask Mandate In Place Until May 29
The City of Cambridge has not yet lifted the mask mandate for youth sports. Children playing outdoor sports will be required to wear masks until the statewide mandate lifts on May 29, 2021. Dr. Assaad Sayah, the City’s Chief Public Health Officer, says “I strongly recommend that unvaccinated youth continue wearing masks when participating in sports and when outdoors and unable to be at least 6 feet apart from one another.”
Fuel Assistance Program Accepting Applications Through Today
Beginning in July 2021, the utility payment moratorium will end. If you need assistance paying your heating bills, the Fuel Assistance Program is accepting applications through today, May 28, 2021. Read more here.
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.
MA Vaccination Updates
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.
Cambridge Vaccination Data
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 77,005
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 63,434
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 7,748,396
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 9,131,450
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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: 660,766
New Cases: 253
Total Deaths: 17,495
Total Cases: 6,244
New Cases: 1
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.
Cambridge COVID Testing Sites (through May 30, 2021)
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.