I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
No Masks for Youth Sports Starting Today, State Mask Mandate Lifts May 29
As of today, May 18, 2021, kids under age 18 no longer have to wear masks while playing outdoor sports, unless local ordinance says otherwise. Effective Saturday, May 29, 2021, the state’s face covering advisory will shift to reflect the recent CDC guidance. Face coverings will be optional for fully vaccinated people in most settings, with exceptions including early education and K-12 schools, public and shared private transportation, and hospitals and healthcare facilities. Fully vaccinated people will still have to wear masks if businesses require them. Read more at mass.gov/maskrules.
COVID Restrictions Lifting Effective May 29 & State of Emergency Ends June 15
The Baker Administration has announced that all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, including capacity limits, will be lifted effective Saturday, May 29, 2021. On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, the State of Emergency in Massachusetts will end. Read more at mass.gov/reopening.
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.
Virtual Info Session on Affordable Apartments May 26
There will be an informational meeting on the rental application and lottery for affordable units at Squirrelwood Apartments next Tuesday, 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.
Haitian Creole Vaccine Forum Tomorrow Evening
The Cambridge Health Alliance is holding a Haitian Creole forum on COVID-19 vaccines in partnership with the Cambridge Health Department, the Cambridge Department of Human Services, the Cambridge Public Library and the Cambridge Commission on Immigrant Rights and Citizenship tomorrow, May 19, 2021, from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. Read more here: https://buff.ly/2Qcp1fv.
Starlight Square Reopening Tomorrow
The Central Square Business Improvement District is holding a season two preview for the reopening of Starlight Square tomorrow, Wednesday, May 19, 2021 from 2:00 - 4:00 PM. You can RSVP here. Capacity is limited to 150, so if you are interested in attending, please RSVP soon.
This Week: CPL Hosting Anti-Racism & Social Justice Series
The Cambridge Public Library is hosting a series of virtual events this week, May 17-21, 2021, for young people and their families to combat racism and promote social justice. The program, called “Standing Up Together,” features stories, workshops, and music. Learn more and register here.
Fuel Assistance Program Accepting Applications Until Friday, May 28
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.
COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Program
The COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Program provides short term financial assistance to individuals and families in Cambridge who are experiencing housing instability. New applicants are encouraged to apply. Learn 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.
Nationwide and Federal Updates
New CDC Page on COVID-19 and Homeless Populations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a webpage with resources for people experiencing homelessness at https://bit.ly/3v0wnSI. The resources address extra precautions against COVID-19, vaccination implementation guidance, testing in homeless shelters and encampments, and more.
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 13, 2021:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 69,730
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 42,806
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 Tuesday, May 18, 2021:
Total doses administered: 7,209,523
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 8,528,620
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. 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 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!
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: 657,478
New Cases: 359
Total Deaths: 17,419
Tests Today: 37,627
Total Cases: 6,215
New Cases: 9
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.