I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
Today’s Case Count
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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.
Baker Press Conference Updates
Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today.
Today, the state announced a targeted outreach initiative in 20 cities and towns most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. It will also grant $1 million to the MA League of Community Health Centers to support vaccination in historically underserved communities. The good news is that the latest initiative is targeting high risk communities. What has not been announced, but seems to be happening, is that the vaccines that local boards of health were receiving are no longer being sent to local communities like Cambridge.
The last two decisions -- to take vaccines away from hospitals and local boards of health -- mean that vulnerable eligible residents who have struggled to access an appointment will continue to struggle, but with fewer opportunities to have the vaccine delivered locally and/or by a trusted provider. I have spent the last two days in communication with the Governor's office, the State Department of Public Health, and our local Chief Public Health Officer Claude Jacobs, Cambridge Health Alliance CEO Dr. Assad Sayah, Mayor Siddiqqui and City Manager Louie Depasquale. Cambridge has applied to be a mass vaccination site in partnership with the CHA, but has not yet been approved by the State.
Like many local communities, we continue to worry about individuals who will not be able to access a Mass Vaccination site in Boston, for all of the reasons given in earlier updates. I will keep you posted as my questions to the Governor are answered. I can at least offer you hope that when limited supply becomes less of an issue our community is prepared to take over where the State is fumbling.
I’m grateful to Speaker Mariano for continuing to push Governor Baker for more transparency, efficiency, and equity in the vaccine rollout. He was on WBZ-TV this weekend saying that teachers should be moved to the front of the line. Read more here.
CVS Now Offering Vaccines
CVS is now offering free COVID-19 vaccines at select locations across Massachusetts, including one in Cambridge. If you are eligible, you can schedule your first and second doses through the pharmacy’s website. CVS is expected to post new appointments daily. The Cambridge location is 215 Alewife Brook Pkwy, Cambridge, MA 02138. Schedule an appointment here. The site is getting a lot of traffic and may need a minute or two to load.
Resources for Booking and Getting to Your Appointment
- Online: Visit vaxfinder.mass.gov/ or mass.gov/COVIDVaccine. You can also book directly at cvs.com.
- Phone: Call 2-1-1 between 8:30AM and 5:30PM Mon-Fri and select the prompt for “help scheduling a vaccine appointment.” This multilingual service is for residents 75 and older 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.
- Need a ride? Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is offering free transportation for local adults aged 75+ 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.
- 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!
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
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According to DPH, Massachusetts administered 285,000 total doses over the past week - exceeding our daily allocation and shipments into the state.
Massachusetts is currently at the beginning of Phase Two of vaccine rollout: the first priority group, individuals aged 75 years or older. There are currently 125 vaccination sites in Massachusetts and it is expected that this will ramp up to 165 sites by mid-February. The map of vaccination sites is here; you can search by zip code as well.
As the state transitions into Phase Two, the priority groups are:
- Individuals 75 or older
- Individuals 65 or older or with two or more comorbidities and/or residents and staff of low income and affordable senior housing
- Early education and K-12 workers, transit, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation and public health workers
- 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/covid-19-vaccine.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has a Frequently Asked Questions site that is continually updated as they receive new questions. Access the FAQs here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-frequently-asked-questions. Questions can be submitted to COVID-19-Vaccine-Plan-MA@mass.gov.
COVID Testing Sites
Testing appointments through the City's free mobile-testing program are 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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidelines for face masks. The recommendations include adjusting your mask to get a better fit or adding a second mask. Read more here.
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is launching a fifth survey of the state's cultural institutions to take stock of the economic damage the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. More than 30,000 cultural sector jobs have been affected by COVID-19-related cancellations and closures, the organization said, and its November survey found a loss of more than $484 million in revenue for cultural organizations in Massachusetts. The survey will be open until March 1 and cultural organizations can fill it out here.
Youth Employment Opportunity
The Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General has announced the FY2022 Healthy Summer Youth Jobs Grant Program. Applicants may apply for grants to fund jobs for youth with core health and wellness components while also providing opportunities for professional enrichment. The deadline for applications is March 5. To learn more about this opportunity, click here.
Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here.
MIT COVID-19 information, click here.
The City of Cambridge has increased indoor capacity limits from 25% to 40% as of February 8. Indoor gatherings are still limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 25 people. Learn more here.
COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Grants for Cambridge Nonprofit Organizations
The intent of this funding is to provide COVID-19 related assistance and critical support to the vulnerable and at-risk Cambridge families and individuals served by Cambridge nonprofit organizations. Applications for COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Grants for Cambridge Nonprofit Organizations are due by 5:00 PM on February 22, 2021. To learn more about the grant opportunity and apply, click here.
Cambridge Works is a transitional jobs program for younger adults who have had difficulty finding a job. This program is ongoing and open to residents, must be age 18 - 35, without a college degree. The program is meant for those who have experienced difficulty finding jobs for any of the following reasons: limited work experience, a gap in work history, frustration with dead end jobs, or legal or personal issues. For additional information on the Cambridge Works program, click here.
Cambridge Library Services
Contactless holds pickup has resumed at all branches. The winter schedule includes a dedicated hour for seniors and at-risk individuals at the start of each service day at the Main Library. Details are available on the library website at www.cambridgema.gov/cpl. For assistance, call 617-349-4040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
- Make a donation
- Order from their wishlist
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.