I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
Cambridge Reducing COVID Testing to 4 Days Per Week in June; Sites Will Also Offer Vaccinations
Beginning in June, the City of Cambridge will offer free testing 4 days per week on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with modified hours. The sites will offer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations simultaneously through June. Read more at https://bit.ly/3vkFrlf.
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. Dr. Assaad Sayah, the City’s Chief Public Health Officer, says “I strongly recommend that unvaccinated youth continue wearing masks when participating in sports and when outdoors and unable to be at least 6 feet apart from one another.”
Virtual Info Session on Affordable Apartments Tonight
There will be an informational meeting on the rental application and lottery for affordable units at Squirrelwood Apartments tonight, 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.
First Dose Student Vaccine Clinic Tomorrow
The Cambridge Public Health Department and Cambridge Public Schools are holding a dedicated vaccine clinic for CPS students age 12 and older tomorrow, May 26, 2021 (first dose) and Wednesday, June 16, 2021 (second dose) at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Both clinics will run from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Read more and register at https://www.cpsd.us/vaccine.
Spanish Info Session on COVID-19 Vaccines This Thursday
The Cambridge Health Alliance is holding a COVID-19 vaccine information session for the Cambridge Spanish-speaking community on Thursday, May 27, 2021 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM in partnership with the Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge Public Library, the Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs, and the Cambridge Commission on Immigrant Rights and Citizenship. Learn more and register at https://buff.ly/3bGI4Gm.
Fuel Assistance Program Accepting Applications Through This Friday
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.
Nationwide and Federal Updates
Moderna Vaccine Shown To Be Effective In Kids As Young As 12
Moderna announced today that its COVID-19 vaccine offers strong protection to kids as young as 12 and it plans to submit its teen data to the US Food and Drug Administration early next month. In a study of 3,700 12- to 17-year-olds, there were no COVID-19 diagnoses in those given two doses of the vaccine, and the vaccine appeared 93% effective two weeks after the first dose. Read more at https://wbur.fm/3vqptWU.
AAP Recommends That Kids Keep Wearing Masks
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website healthychildren.org has a page addressing the question, “Does my unvaccinated child still have to wear a mask when the rest of the family doesn't?” The response is that children and adolescents who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 should continue to wear masks when social distancing isn't possible. Vaccinated adults and older children should consider modeling mask-wearing behavior in support. See the whole discussion at https://bit.ly/2RHpwyZ.
Museum of Science and Dunkin’ Donuts Offering Freebies With Vaccines
The Baker-Polito Administration and CIC Health are collaborating with the Museum of Science Boston and Dunkin’ Donuts on initiatives to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines. The Museum of Science will hold a vaccination clinic on Friday, May 28 from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Saturday, May 29 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, where visitors receiving a vaccine will be provided with free parking and two free tickets to the museum, which can be used for a future date. Advanced registration is encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. Visit https://www.cic-health.com/mos to book an appointment.
Dunkin’ Days at the Hynes will be held on Thursday, May 27 and Friday, May 28 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM and will offer a free Dunkin’ Iced Coffee to people who get vaccinated. There is no pre-registration required and walk-ups are strongly encouraged. Both clinics are offering the Pfizer vaccine and all individuals 12 and older who live, work, or study in Massachusetts are eligible.
MBTA Increasing Service In June
The MBTA will increase the frequency of subway trains and bus routes as of June 20, 2021, bringing the schedule closer to what it was before service cuts took effect over the winter. Midday frequency on the Red and Orange lines will be even higher than before the cuts. Ridership is on its way back up but remains well below pre-pandemic levels. Read more at https://wbur.fm/3fJkfyR.
Baker Proposes Extending Outdoor Dining, Other Pandemic Provisions
Governor Charlie Baker filed a bill today that would extend certain emergency measures set to expire on June 15. The Open Meeting Meeting Law provisions would be extended to September 1, 2021; municipalities would be allowed to offer restaurants special permits for outdoor dining through November 29, 2021; and billing protections for patients who have received COVID-related emergency and inpatient services would be extended until January 1, 2022. Read more at https://bit.ly/3hN0usW.
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 20, 2021:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 75,648
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 58,462
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 25, 2021:
Total doses administered: 7,581,848
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 8,893,750
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: Find an appointment or see walk-in availability at vaxfinder.mass.gov/. You can also book directly with a pharmacy at cvs.com or walgreens.com or 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.”
- In-Home Vaccinations: Anyone who is unable to get to a vaccine location can call the Homebound Vaccination Central Intake Line at 833-983-0485 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday-Friday.
- 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 email@example.com.
- 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: 659,916
New Cases: 195
Total Deaths: 17,475
Total Cases: 6,235
New Cases: 3
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 (through May 31, 2021)
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.