Tuesday April 20 COVID-19 Updates

Dear all,
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.
Office Update
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.
Please send any questions you have on vaccines for the panelists to Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov ahead of the panel.
Baker Press Conference Updates
Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today. You can watch the Governor’s latest updates here.
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.
Translation Resources Available
Multilingual city resources and information on COVID-19 are available on the City’s multilingual help page.
State Department Issues Travel Warnings
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 info@eldercare.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!
Cambridge Vaccination Data
The City of Cambridge has added Cambridge Vaccination Data to its COVID-19 Data Center. Data will be updated weekly on Fridays at 4pm. Information as of Friday, April 16, 2021:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 47,553
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 26,392
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
The Department of Public Health is now publishing a Daily COVID-19 Vaccine Report in addition to its Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report. Information as of Tuesday, April 20, 2021:
Total doses administered: 5,209,620
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 5,949,440
Vaccination Timeline
Massachusetts is currently in the middle of Phase Two of the vaccine rollout. For more details and updates on vaccination priorities, please visit mass.gov/CovidVaccine.
For more details and updates on vaccination priorities, please visit mass.gov/CovidVaccine.
FAQs
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: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-frequently-asked-questions. Questions can be submitted to COVID-19-Vaccine-Plan-MA@mass.gov.
Today’s Case Count
Total Cases: 633,675
New Cases: 968
Total Deaths: 17,138
Tests Today: 52,478
Cambridge
Total Cases: 6,002
New Cases: 13
Total Deaths: 121
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:
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.”
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:
I also encourage you to donate to the following organizations that are engaging in racial justice work:
As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.
Sincerely,
Marjorie

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