I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 3,722 Cambridge residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 111 residents have passed away, according to the state’s database. Learn more here. There have been 433,297 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 5,545 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 101,413 tests have been performed today, and 13,156 have passed away. Learn more here.
Baker Press Conference Updates
Governor Baker announced today that more than 1,500 businesses across the state have received $78 million in aid from the Small Business Relief Grant Program administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Program, with 38 businesses in Cambridge receiving a total of $1,955,000. The grant program is for sectors most impacted by COVID-19. Grants of up to $75,000, or not more than three months’ operating expenses, are available to be used on payroll and employee benefit costs, mortgage and rent costs, utilities, and more. This third round of small business grants brings the total distributed by the state up to $195 million, with $473 million left in the Mass Growth Capital Corporation fund. The next grant application program deadline is 11:59 p.m. this Friday, 1/15/21. The state plans to announce the next award recipients in February.
Renewed Push for Prisoner Releases
Citing a provision from the FY21 budget requiring the Department of Correction to “release, transition to home confinement or furlough individuals in the care or custody of the department” who can be moved safely and are “most vulnerable” to COVID-19, Prisoners’ Legal Services Executive Director Elizabeth Matos wrote to the DOC today urging officials to “release people now to save lives and improve the public health crisis raging out of control within and without congregate settings.” Matos recommended prioritizing prisoners over the age of 50 for release, arguing that they are at the highest risk for the virus and are at low risk to be re-arrested after re-entry into the community. She also urged the department to release the hundreds of individuals in minimum security or pre-release prisons.
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.
The Mass Cultural Council has launched a second round of financial relief for individuals whose creative practices and incomes have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Grants of $1,500 are now available to Massachusetts individual artists and independent teaching artists/humanists/scientists. The application deadline is 2/2/21.
Governor Baker will deliver a virtual State of the Commonwealth address live from the State House on Tuesday, January 26 at 7:00 PM.
Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report
The Department of Public Health’s Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report is updated each Thursday by 5 PM based on information available in the Massachusetts Immunization System. The report includes vaccine distribution numbers by county, as well as age and race/ethnicity breakdowns of those receiving vaccines. Information as of January 14, 2021:
- Cumulative first doses administered: 206,190
- Cumulative second doses administered: 32,984
- Cumulative Moderna doses shipped to MA: 205,100
- Cumulative Pfizer doses shipped to MA: 142,350
The Department of Public Health will launch an interactive digital dashboard soon.
Massachusetts is currently in Phase One of vaccine rollout, having started vaccinating first responders this week. On January 18, vaccination starts for the roughly 94,000 people living and working in congregate care settings like group homes, shelters, residential treatment programs and correctional facilities. Home-based healthcare workers and healthcare workers doing non-COVID facing work will receive vaccinations next, in that order.
As the state transitions into Phase Two, the first group will be individuals with 2+ comorbidities and/or individuals aged 75+. Following this population, workers in COVID-vulnerable sectors, such as teachers, sanitation and public health workers, and transit workers will be vaccinated. Phase Two will finish with vaccinating schedules for individuals 65+ and individuals with one comorbidity.
Phase Three will expand vaccination efforts to the general public.
For more details and updates on vaccination priorities, please visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/when-can-i-get-the-covid-19-vaccine.
Vaccinations for first responders began on January 11. Details can be found at mass.gov/FirstResponderVaccine.
Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here.
MIT COVID-19 information, click here.
21 businesses in my district received a total of $1,105,000. Here are few of the business that received grants:
Harvard Square Community Acupuncture
Waxing the City
Latin Soul Dance Company
Harvard Square Eye Care
Spice Thai Cuisine
Enroll Now for In-Person or Remote Learning for 2nd Semester
In order for schools to plan, Cambridge Public Schools need to hear from every family on whether you prefer in-person or remote learning for each of your student(s). All families may choose to continue remote learning for their child. The deadline to complete the form is this Friday, 1/15. Read more here.
- January 18: Schools closed, in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- January 25: Families will be notified of their students’ enrollment status and assignments. In-person families will receive additional information to plan for the return to in-person learning.
- February 8: Earliest start to in-person learning.
Cambridge flu clinics are over, but you can still get a flu shot.
The Cambridge Public Health Department’s annual public flu clinics ended on November 14, 2020. Please note that the Cambridge Public Health Department will not be able to offer any flu shot appointments at its office this year due to the pandemic.
Residents are encouraged to visit a local pharmacy or make an appointment with their health care provider. Flu shots are covered by most Massachusetts health insurance plans. Cambridge Health Alliance patients (12 – 22 years old) or Cambridge Public School students (12 – 22 years old) can now receive a flu shot at the Teen Health Center located in Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Call 617-665-1548 to schedule an appointment.
Cambridge Library Services
Contactless Holds Pickup Service hours at the O’Neill Branch, 70 Rindge Ave., Cambridge have been suspended from Saturday, Jan. 2 through at least Monday, Jan. 18. The Library’s virtual programs and services and digital collections continue to be available. For assistance, call 617-349-4040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to Get Tested
Testing appointments through the City’s free mobile-testing program are now available at the following locations:
- Monday – 50 Church St. 12:00pm – 8:00pm
- Tuesday – 50 Church St. 12:00pm – 8:00pm
- Wednesday – 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church, 10:00am – 6:00pm
- Thursday – CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 11:00am – 7:00pm (Drive-through testing in garage. Enter on First St.)
- Friday – 50 Church St. 12:00pm – 8:00pm
- Saturday – Christian Life Center located at 85 Bishop Allen Drive. 11:00am – 7:00pm
- Sunday – CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 11:00am – 7:00pm (Drive-through testing in garage. Enter on First St.)
You can schedule an appointment online or by calling 617-665-3795.
Translation Resources Available
Multilingual city resources and information on COVID-19 are available on the City’s multilingual help page.
Where to Give
Transition House in Need of Emergency Donations
Transition House’s mission is to break the cycle of domestic violence in our community. In its first decades, Transition House created the first shelter on the East Coast, a legal services program for battered women, a foster grandparent program, and pioneered school-based teen dating violence intervention curricula and programs. Learn more here.
Today, Transition House provides vital housing options for individuals and families surviving domestic and intimate partner violence in Cambridge. With a 40% increase in emergency housing as a response to the pandemic, and rising expenses, Transition House needs support with their mission now more than ever. If you would like to donate, click here. If you would like to order from their wishlist, click here.
If you are able to give to others during this time, I encourage you to look to the following 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
- Chelsea Food Collaborative
- Food for Free
- 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.