I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources. I would also like to thank those of you who contributed to the success of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute’s 25th annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace, either through donating or participating.
I am grieved to report another death from COVID-19 in Cambridge. If this was your loved one, I am truly sorry for your loss.
MA Reopening Continues Today
The Commonwealth advances to the next step of its reopening plan today, with changes including the following:
- Grocery stores are no longer required to offer senior hours
- Amusement parks, theme parks and outdoor water parks are allowed to reopen (at 50 percent capacity)
- Road races can resume with staggered starts
- Large capacity venues — such as indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks — that were allowed to open at 12 percent capacity on March 22 can increase capacity up to 25 percent
- Singing can resume indoors (with social distancing)
Read more here.
MA COVID Cases at Lowest Level Since November
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health estimates that active COVID-19 cases are at 18,746, the fewest since November 5th, and reports a seven-day average positive test rate of 1.24%, the lowest level since October 11th. In addition, more than 4 million adults in the Commonwealth have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. Read more here.
MA Leading in COVID-19 Vaccinations
Governor Baker held a press conference at the Manet Community Health Center Vaccination Clinic in Quincy today. He announced that 73% of Massachusetts residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, that deaths in the state from COVID-19 have gone down by 70% since the end of March, and that we are #1 among states with over 5 million residents for both first doses per capita and total doses per capita. The Governor also stated that the Commonwealth is moving to Phase IV, step 2 of the reopening plan today (see details above). You can watch the Governor’s latest updates here.
FDA Approves Pfizer Vaccine for Kids 12-15
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that kids aged 12 to 15 are eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19. Until now, the Pfizer vaccine had been authorized only for people age 16 and older. Pfizer asked the FDA to broaden its emergency use authorization for the vaccine after announcing in late March that clinical trials found “100% efficacy and robust antibody responses” in study participants who were 12 to 15 years old. Read more here.
Biden Administration Launches Vaccine Hotline
To help overcome the technology barrier to accessing COVID-19 vaccines, the Biden administration has launched a vaccination assistance hotline. By dialing 1-800-232-0233 from any phone, people seeking a vaccine can talk to a call center representative in English, Spanish, or many additional languages. There is also a TTY line for callers who are hearing impaired. Read more here.
FDA Advisory Committee to Discuss Additional Vaccines for Kids
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee to discuss additional pediatric use of COVID-19 vaccines on June 10, 2021 via webcast. The meeting will be livestreamed on the FDA’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels, as well as from the FDA website. Read more here.
CPL Hosting “Standing Up Together” Anti-Racism & Social Justice Series
The Cambridge Public Library is hosting a series of virtual events from May 17-21, 2021 for young people and their families to combat racism and promote social justice. The program, called “Standing Up Together,” features stories, workshops, and music. Learn more and register here.
Cambridge Pauses Reopening
The City of Cambridge will not advance to the next step of the state’s reopening plan, which permits additional activities such as indoor singing at restaurants and venues, on the same schedule as the Commonwealth. While the state has moved ahead as of today, Cambridge is delaying until further notice. Read more here.
Fuel Assistance Program Accepting Applications Until Friday, May 28
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 Friday, May 28, 2021. Read more here.
COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Program
The COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Program provides short term financial assistance to individuals and families in Cambridge who are experiencing housing instability. New applicants are encouraged to apply. Learn more here.
Council on Aging Homebound Vaccination Program
The homebound vaccination program is for people who would not otherwise be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine unless they receive it in their home. It does not include individuals who are temporarily homebound; and/or able to leave the home with adequate assistance; or those who would prefer to get a vaccine in their home. If you meet the definition for homebound, or know someone who does, please call the Cambridge Council on Aging (CoA) at 617-349-6220. Learn more here.
Translation Resources Available
Multilingual city resources and information on COVID-19 are available on the City’s multilingual help page.
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). These sites are open to all Massachusetts residents. They encourage people to pre-register here or via MyCHArt (for CHA patients), but walk-ins are welcome. Read more here.
Walk-In Vaccinations Available at Mass Vax Sites & CVS
Starting today, Massachusetts residents can get COVID-19 vaccines at 6 of the state’s mass vaccination sites without an appointment: Boston’s Hynes Convention Center and Reggie Lewis Center, the Natick Mall, the former Circuit City in Dartmouth, the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers and the Eastfield Mall in Springfield. 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.
Vaccine Eligibility Open to All Adults
All Massachusetts residents aged 16 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, people under the age of 18 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine and there are certain steps these individuals should take prior to scheduling their appointment. Learn more here.
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: Pre-register for mass vaccination sites at vaccinesignup.mass.gov. All state vaccination sites are online at vaxfinder.mass.gov/, or you can book directly with a pharmacy at cvs.com or walgreens.com. You can also 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.” 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 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!
Cambridge Vaccination Data
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 65,530
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 35,987
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 6,792,614
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 7,941,470
Massachusetts is currently in Phase Three of the vaccine rollout. 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: 653,636
New Cases: 446
Total Deaths: 17,344
Tests Today: 23,693
Total Cases: 6,186
New Cases: 3
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
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.