I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
YWCA Panel Tonight on Black Maternal Health
The Cambridge YWCA hosted the second part of its Black Maternal Health Series this evening where I participated in a Zoom panel discussion on Birth Plans, Complications, and Advocacy along with Dr. Dallas Reed, doula Merline Williams, and Tamara Leroy-London, LICSW.
Chief Public Health Officer Urges Mask Use During Youth Sports
"While I am delighted that Cambridge's vaccination rates are high and that our case numbers continue to decline, we must remain vigilant. 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. This important mitigation practice should be continued at least until the public health emergency is lifted on June 15, and I ask that all parents, caregivers, coaches, and teachers encourage unvaccinated youth to continue wearing masks until that time," said Assaad J. Sayah, M.D., Commissioner of Public Health. Read more at https://bit.ly/3oT37ek.
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.
Cambridge Arts for Health Grant Opportunity: Info Session Tomorrow
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council and Cambridge Public Health Department released a Call for Art today with an opportunity to apply for grants from $1,000 to $4,000. Artists are invited to propose creative frameworks for community engagement around public health. The call is open to all US residents aged 18 and up, but current or former residents of Cambridge are strongly encouraged to apply. There will be an info session on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 3:00 PM. Go to https://bit.ly/3bHzWVU to learn more, register for the info session, or submit questions.
Virtual Info Session on Affordable Apartments Tomorrow
There will be an informational meeting on the rental application and lottery for affordable units at Squirrelwood Apartments tomorrow, May 25 at 6:00 PM. The application deadline is Friday, June 11, 2021 at 3:00 PM. For more information and the meeting link, go to https://t.co/7A4yHIji2t?amp=1.
First Dose Student Vaccine Clinic This Wednesday
The Cambridge Public Health Department and Cambridge Public Schools are holding a dedicated vaccine clinic for CPS students age 12 and older on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 (first dose) and Wednesday, June 16, 2021 (second dose) at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Read more and register at https://www.cpsd.us/vaccine.
Spanish Info Session on COVID-19 Vaccines This Thursday
The Cambridge Health Alliance is holding a COVID-19 vaccine information session for the Cambridge Spanish-speaking community on Thursday, May 27, 2021 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM in partnership with the Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge Public Library, the Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs, and the Cambridge Commission on Immigrant Rights and Citizenship. Learn more and register at https://buff.ly/3bGI4Gm.
Fuel Assistance Program Accepting Applications Through This Friday
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.
Nationwide and Federal Updates
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.
CDC Has New Sign Language Videos on COVID-19
New American Sign Language videos about how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 are now available on CDC’s #COVID-19 ASL YouTube channel. Watch the videos here: https://bit.ly/3wqvhQo.
FEMA Wrapped Up Vaccination Program at Hynes Site
Yesterday marked the end of the 8-week partnership between FEMA and the Commonwealth to distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses at the Hynes Convention Center and through mobile clinics. According to officials, the effort administered over 301,000 doses. The state vaccination site at the Hynes will continue to operate into June. Read more at https://bit.ly/3yCUTLR.
Homebound Vaccination Program Expanding Today
Beginning today, May 24, 2021, the homebound vaccination program will include any individual who has trouble getting to a vaccine site. Individuals who register for the homebound vaccination program will be contacted within 5 business days to schedule an appointment. The Homebound Program is primarily using Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but Pfizer vaccines are available for individuals 12-17 who are homebound. The Homebound Program Central Intake Line is 1-833-983-0485 and operates Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Vaccine Preregistration System Closing May 31, No New Submissions After Tomorrow
The state’s vaccine preregistration system at mass.gov/COVIDvaccine will no longer take new submissions beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, May 25, 2021 and will close on Monday, May 31, 2021. After May 31, appointments will continue to be available using vaxfinder.mass.gov. Walk-ins will also continue to be available.
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
The City of Cambridge has added Cambridge Vaccination Data to its COVID-19 Data Center. Data will be updated weekly on Thursdays at 5 PM. Information as of Thursday, May 20, 2021:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 75,648
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 58,462
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
The Department of Public Health publishes a Daily COVID-19 Vaccine Report in addition to its Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report. Information as of Monday, May 24, 2021:
Total doses administered: 7,541,049
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 8,842,020
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: Pre-register for mass vaccination sites at vaccinesignup.mass.gov until May 25, 2021. 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!
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.
Governor Baker Press Conference Updates
Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today. You can watch the Governor's latest updates here.
Today’s Case Count
Total Cases: 659,721
New Cases: 188
Total Deaths: 17,465
Total Cases: 6,232
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.
For Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here.
For MIT COVID-19 information, click 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.