I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 3,668 Cambridge residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 111 residents have passed away, according to the state’s database. Learn more here. There have been 427,752 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 5,278 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 100,276 tests have been performed today, and 13,082 have passed away. Learn more here.
Baker Press Conference Updates
Governor Baker announced today that vaccinations for congregate care workers and residents will begin on January 18. The state is working with providers of congregate care and shelter programs to make sure that they have feasible vaccination plans. Some programs have capacity to order vaccinations for in-house distribution, while others will use mass vaccination sites such as Gillette Stadium and still others will get vaccinations at CVS or Walgreens through a partnership with the federal government. In correctional settings, inmates and staff will get the Moderna vaccine through the vendor Wellpath.
Officials Reviewing Testing Pilot for Early Ed and Care
According to Secretary of Education James Peyser, state officials are working to develop a COVID-19 testing program focused on early education and care. The recently announced pool testing initiative in schools does not include early education and care providers, which led over 250 early education, care, and out-of-school providers and advocates to write a letter to the Baker administration calling their exclusion “unconscionable.” The early education pilot, which would rely on a partnership with philanthropic organizations, is now being reviewed with the state’s COVID Command Center.
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.
There is a new sector-specific Small Business Relief Grant Program administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Program. This grant program is for sectors most impacted by COVID-19. Grants of up to $75,000, or not more than three months’ operating expenses, are available to be used on payroll and employee benefit costs, mortgage and rent costs, utilities, and more. Applications are due this Friday, 1/15/21.
The Mass Cultural Council has launched a second round of financial relief for individuals whose creative practices and incomes have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Grants of $1,500 are now available to Massachusetts individual artists and independent teaching artists/humanists/scientists. The application deadline is 2/2/21.
Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report
The Department of Public Health’s Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report is updated each Thursday by 5 PM based on information available in the Massachusetts Immunization System. The report includes vaccine distribution numbers by county, as well as age and race/ethnicity breakdowns of those receiving vaccines. Information as of January 7, 2021:
- Cumulative first doses administered: 139,895
- Cumulative second doses administered: 1,213
- Cumulative Moderna doses shipped to MA: 187,600
- Cumulative Pfizer doses shipped to MA: 140,400
The Department of Public Health will launch an interactive digital dashboard soon.
Massachusetts is currently in Phase One of vaccine rollout, having started vaccinating first responders this week. Congregate care settings (including correctional facilities and shelters), home-based healthcare workers, and healthcare workers doing non-COVID facing work will receive vaccinations next, in that order.
As the state transitions into Phase Two, the first group will be individuals with 2+ comorbidities and/or individuals aged 75+. Following this population, workers in COVID-vulnerable sectors, such as teachers, sanitation and public health workers, and transit workers will be vaccinated. Phase Two will finish with vaccinating schedules for individuals 65+ and 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/info-details/when-can-i-get-the-covid-19-vaccine.
Vaccinations for first responders began on January 11. Details can be found at mass.gov/FirstResponderVaccine.
Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here.
MIT COVID-19 information, click here.
The Public Health Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Cambridge, click here.
City of Cambridge Extends Rollback to a Modified Phase II, Step 2. City Buildings to Remain Closed to the Public until February 1
While City buildings will remain closed to the public, City offices will be open, and many City services can be accessed online or over the telephone. A complete listing of City departments and contact information can be found at www.cambridgema.gov/hours. For more information on the extended modified phase II, step 2 rollback, click here.
Enroll Now for In-Person or Remote Learning for 2nd Semester
In order for schools to plan, Cambridge Public Schools need to hear from every family on whether you prefer in-person or remote learning for each of your student(s). All families may choose to continue remote learning for their child. The deadline to complete the form is this Friday, 1/15. Read more here.
- January 18: Schools closed, in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- January 25: Families will be notified of their students’ enrollment status and assignments. In-person families will receive additional information to plan for the return to in-person learning.
- February 8: Earliest start to in-person learning.
Cambridge flu clinics are over, but you can still get a flu shot.
The Cambridge Public Health Department’s annual public flu clinics ended on November 14, 2020. Please note that the Cambridge Public Health Department will not be able to offer any flu shot appointments at its office this year due to the pandemic.
Residents are encouraged to visit a local pharmacy or make an appointment with their health care provider. Flu shots are covered by most Massachusetts health insurance plans. Cambridge Health Alliance patients (12 – 22 years old) or Cambridge Public School students (12 – 22 years old) can now receive a flu shot at the Teen Health Center located in Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Call 617-665-1548 to schedule an appointment.
Cambridge Library Services
Contactless Holds Pickup Service hours at the O’Neill Branch, 70 Rindge Ave., Cambridge have been suspended from Saturday, Jan. 2 through at least Monday, Jan. 18. The Library’s virtual programs and services and digital collections continue to be available. For assistance, call 617-349-4040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to Get Tested
Testing appointments through the City’s free mobile-testing program are now 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.
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
Transition House’s mission is to break the cycle of domestic violence in our community. In its first decades, Transition House created the first shelter on the East Coast, a legal services program for battered women, a foster grandparent program, and pioneered school-based teen dating violence intervention curricula and programs. Learn more here.
Today, Transition House provides vital housing options for individuals and families surviving domestic and intimate partner violence in Cambridge. With a 40% increase in emergency housing as a response to the pandemic, and rising expenses, Transition House needs support with their mission now more than ever. If you would like to donate, click here. If you would like to order from their wishlist, click here.
If you are able to give to others during this time, I encourage you to look to the following 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.