I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources. I would also like to share that today I filed HD.4192, An Act to stop mass shootings, with my colleague Representative Frank Moran in the House. Senator Cindy Creem filed it in the Senate. We held a press conference this morning to announce the bill along with advocates and families who have lost loved ones to assault weapons manufactured in Massachusetts. You can watch it here. Keep an eye out for a special newsletter about the bill, which bans the manufacture of military-style assault weapons in Massachusetts for sales to private individuals in other states.
Vaccines Town Hall 4/29
Please join me, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, Dr. Bronwyn MacInnis, Director of the Infectious Disease and Microbiome Program at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, and Dr. Assaad Sayah, CEO of the Cambridge Health Alliance for a Town Hall meeting on Vaccines on Thursday 4/29 at 5:30PM. You can register for a Zoom link here. The town hall will also air on CCTV's Channel 9, cctvcambridge.org/channel09, cctvcambridge.org/youtube, and Facebook.com/cctvcambridge.
MCAS Eliminated as Graduation Requirement for Class of 2022
The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted today to eliminate MCAS graduation requirements for the class of 2022, this year’s juniors. The Board’s vote was unanimous. As the sponsor of two bills to place a moratorium on MCAS testing, one short-term and one long-term, I am gratified at this step in the right direction. Read more here.
Free Meal Sites for Kids and Teens throughout the State
Use this link to find all of the free meal sites for kids and teens throughout Massachusetts. The program has just been extended through September. No registration or ID required, you can just show up.
Applications Due Today for Youth Mental Health Mini-Grants
The Cambridge Public Health Department will award six $1,000 mini-grants to support projects promoting youth mental health and wellness in Cambridge. Applications are due today, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. For more information and to apply, go to bit.ly/3u3pEWX.
DHSP Online Free Virtual Activities This Week During April Vacation
DHSP Online is offering fun and free virtual activities all April Vacation week, today through Friday, for Cambridge children in grades JK-8. Read more and sign up here.
May 7 Deadline for Small Business Grants
An additional $600,000 in grants for Cambridge small businesses is available through the City’s Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority. Grant applications accepted from Wednesday, April 14, 2021 until Friday, May 7, 2021. Read 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.
The US State Department is urging travelers to stay home in light of the “unprecedented risks” of COVID-19 worldwide. Global deaths have surpassed 3 million and over three-quarters of countries around the globe are experiencing spikes in cases. Read more here.
Dr. Jha Expects States to Lift Outdoor Mask Mandates Soon
Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, expects that states will lift outdoor mask mandates over the next few weeks. Dr. Jha highlighted the facts that outdoor transmission of COVID-19 is exceedingly rare and that indoor mask mandates will need to stay in place. Read more here.
MA Vaccination Updates
Vaccine Eligibility Open to All Adults
Yesterday, April 19, 2021, Massachusetts residents aged 16 and older became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, people under the age of 18 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Preparing for your Vaccination Appointment
Learn about how you can prepare for your vaccination appointment here
Resources for Booking and Getting to Your Appointment
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
If you or a loved one are struggling, please know that you are not alone. Here are some great resources:
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 Ave, 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."