I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources as well as recent legislative news.
Stay tuned for information about an upcoming joint oversight hearing held by the Public Health, Education, and COVID-19 Committees on the subject of kids and COVID-19 vaccines, testing and more on October 21, 2021.
Table of Contents
- Cambridge COVID Testing
- State Updates
- Nationwide Updates
- Cambridge Updates
- MA Vaccination Updates
- Today’s Case Count
- Legislative Updates
- Recent Press
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
COVID-19 Testing Information
Cambridge COVID-19 Testing
- 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 Monday, October 4, 2021, the COVID-19 testing location at CambridgeSide mall has transitioned back to a drive-through only testing site. Those arriving on foot or by bicycle will not be allowed. Learn more at https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19/testing.
State COVID-19 Testing
To find a COVID-19 testing site in Massachusetts, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/find-a-covid-19-test.
MIAA Recommends Vaccination for Student Athletes
The Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has overwhelmingly approved a recommendation made by the Sports Medicine Committee to recommend that high school student-athletes get vaccinated against COVID. Read more at t.ly/kYUF.
Amherst Mandates Vaccines in Public Schools
The Amherst Board of Health approved a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all eligible students attending public school in the district, the first Massachusetts district to do so. The vaccination rate of eligible students and school staff is currently over 80%. Read more at t.ly/fYuR.
Extension of School Mask Mandate Through October
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley has announced that masks will remain required in Massachusetts public schools until at least November 1st. Learn more here: https://wbur.fm/3uuEhEm.
COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave program extended
Governor Baker has approved an extension of the emergency paid sick leave program until April 1st. The program was first authorized under a law passed in May with the intention of giving workers time to quarantine, recover, get vaccinated, or help a family member dealing with the coronavirus. Learn more here: https://wbur.fm/2ZQB6LZ.
Pfizer Officially Requests FDA Approval for Vaccines for Kids 5-11
Pfizer and BioNTech have submitted a formal request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize the use of their COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. The FDA will meet with an independent advisory committee for October 26 to discuss the request. Read more at t.ly/0FEw.
Biden Administration Working to Make Rapid At-Home Tests More Widely Available
The Biden Administration is allocating an additional $1 billion to purchase rapid at-home COVID-19 tests, following a $2 billion allocation in September. The tests will be supplied to community health centers, food banks, and schools. In addition, the FDA recently issued an emergency use authorization for the ACON Laboratories Flowflex COVID-19 Home Test, an over-the-counter rapid antigen test that will retail for $10. Read more at t.ly/nH5v.
California will require all schoolchildren to get COVID-19 vaccination
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced that California will require all elementary through high school students to get the COVID-19 vaccine once the vaccine gains final approval from the U.S. government for different age groups. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3A7eGTe.
Cambridge School Vaccine Mandate
As of November 22, 2021, all eligible students in Cambridge Public Schools must be vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition, students who are eligible but unvaccinated will not be allowed to participate in after-school extracurricular activities as of November 29. Read more at https://www.cpsd.us/studentvax.
I’m so proud of and thankful for the Cambridge School Committee members for showing the courage to lead in the absence of state-level guidance.
Where to Get a Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Shot
COVID-19 boosters are available for eligible MA residents who got the Pfizer vaccine. You’re eligible if: You’re 65+, age 18-64 & at risk for severe COVID due to certain medical conditions , or age 18-64 & at increased risk for COVID because of occupational/institutional settings. You can get a booster shot at the following locations in/near Cambridge:
- Cambridge Health Alliance (Walk-ins or appointments)
- CVS (Appointments required)
- 624 Mass. Ave (Central Square)
- Schedule here: https://bit.ly/3mgBACv.
- Star Market (Walk-ins or appointments)
- 699 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge
- Schedule here: https://bit.ly/3uujXTv.
- Search by zip-code for other locations https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/
Flu Clinics (plus COVID Vaccines) Scheduled for October
Residents are encouraged to register two weeks ahead of time. Walk-ins are also welcome. No charge, but bring your insurance card. CPHD will also be offering free Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines at the clinics. This will include first and second doses of the vaccine as well as booster shots. Learn more at cambridgepublichealth.org/flu.
- Friday, October 15, 2021
- Citywide Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave
- 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
- Saturday, October 16, 2021
- King Open School, 850 Cambridge St
- 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
- Friday, October 22, 2021
- Reservoir Church, 170 Rindge Ave
- 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM
- Saturday, October 23, 2021
- Pisani Center, 131 Washington St
- 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Cambridge Food Resource Guide
An updated guide of food pantries, free meal programs & more in Cambridge is now available. Learn more: bit.ly/cambfoodguide
Danehy Park Family Day
The City of Cambridge will host Danehy Park Family Day on Saturday, October 16, from 11AM – 3PM. Enjoy a fun-filled day of children’s amusement rides, arts and crafts, music and roving performers, plus snacks, T-shirts, and colorful kites. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3Bpauzj
Upcoming Affordable Housing Information Sessions
The City of Cambridge is offering information sessions about its affordable rental and homeownership programs. Attendees will learn about the eligibility requirements and application process for Cambridge Rental and Homeownership Programs. The next sessions are:
- Affordable Housing Information Sessions Monday, October 18
- 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Rental Programs
- 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Homeowner Programs
- Register at t.ly/cEUT.
MA Vaccination Updates
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:
- 176 Somerville Ave
- 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, October 7, 2021:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 85,303
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 77,175
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 9,683,074
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 11,074,880
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.
Booster Shot Eligibility
COVID-19 boosters are available for eligible MA residents who got the Pfizer vaccine. See if you’re eligible to receive one on the graphic below, and learn more here: https://bit.ly/3mkHVg6.
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: 768,466
New Cases: 1,583
Total Deaths: 18,358
New tests: 115,392
Total Cases: 7,489
New Cases: 13
Total Deaths: 125
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
Several of my bills are scheduled for public hearings next week, including An Act providing upstream homelessness prevention assistance to families, youth, and adults; An Act relative to access for justice; and An Act improving emergency housing assistance for children and families experiencing homelessness. The hearing schedule is available at malegislature.gov, where hearings will be livestreamed and available for viewing after they conclude.
State lawmakers launch Better Bottle Bill campaign in Massachusetts. – Waste Today
by Alex Kamczyc
“Massachusetts state Rep. Marjorie Decker, Sen. Cynthia Creem, and other local lawmakers recently launched a campaign to modernize the state’s container deposit law. The goal is to expand what bottles can be deposited under the existing bottle bill, which was first introduced in 1982.” For more information, please visit https://bit.ly/3DnHUyW
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 Now Open to all 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.