I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 4,182 Cambridge residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 113 residents have passed away, according to the state’s database. Learn more here. There have been 484,639 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 3,022 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 96,203 tests have been performed today, and 14,013 have passed away. Learn more here.
Yesterday, I submitted a letter to Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders regarding the failure of the Department of Correction to address mental healthcare in correctional facilities. The crisis of mental health must be addressed by the state, and I will be filing legislation to address key gaps in mental health, including moving oversight of mental healthcare in correctional facilities from the Department of Correction to the Department of Mental Health.
Baker Press Conference Updates
Governor Baker held a press conference today to discuss his budget recommendations for FY22. He began by addressing the vaccination rollout and announced that the Biden administration has promised more vaccines will be shipped to Massachusetts soon but that no specifics are available yet. Governor Baker also said that his administration is working to create additional resources for booking appointments in partnership with public and private organizations. Recognizing that appointments are very difficult to make at this point, the governor asked that residents be patient and keep checking the website for new slots that will be added on a rolling basis.
Individuals age 75 and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination as of February 1, 2021 and can begin making appointments for dates February 1 or later at mass.gov/COVIDVaccineMap. I am aware that there are very few appointments available at this point, if any, and that a lot of work needs to be done to improve access, transparency and equity in this process. I am working hard to push Governor Baker to do better and I share your frustration. I will share more of my advocacy and communications with the Governor and answer common questions many of you are asking by tomorrow afternoon. The lack of equity and access needs to be addressed with further explanation of how he intends to address this moving forward.
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 21, 2021:
- Cumulative doses administered: 359,919
- Cumulative Moderna doses shipped to MA: 384,100
- Cumulative Pfizer doses shipped to MA: 207,675
You can view the DPH interactive data dashboard here.
Massachusetts is currently in Phase One of vaccine rollout. Residents in all Phase One groups can now make appointments to receive a vaccine at more than 150 locations across the state including first responder only sites, the newly opened mass vaccination site at Gillette Stadium, regional vaccination sites and participating CVS Health and Walgreens pharmacies. Additional mass vaccination sites, pharmacy sites, and community clinic sites will open in more locations on a rolling basis. A full map of vaccination sites with links for appointments can be found here.
As the state transitions into Phase Two in February, the first priority groups will be individuals aged 75+, individuals aged 65+ and individuals with 2+ comorbidities. Following this population, workers in COVID-vulnerable sectors, such as teachers (including early education), sanitation and public health workers, and transit workers will be vaccinated. The last priority group for Phase Two will be individuals with 1 co-morbid condition.
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.
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.
New data from the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority show a slight increase in coronavirus detected in wastewater samples after about two weeks of decline. There are concerns that the numbers indicate a coming increase in cases, possibly due to the arrival of new variants. Read more here.
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.
Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here.
MIT COVID-19 information, click here.
The Daily Table is a nonprofit community grocer dedicated to providing fresh, tasty, convenient, and nutritious food to communities most in need at prices everyone can afford. The grocer offers 50% off fresh produce for SNAP recipients. Daily Table opened its third location in Central Square, 684 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139. Please spread the word for those who could benefit from this amazing new resource. For more information, click here.
Cambridge Library Services
Contactless Holds Pickup at at all library locations is suspended until at least February 1. Due dates will be extended until February 16 and no fines will be charged. 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:
- Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund
- Cambridge Health Alliance
- Cambridge Community Center
- Cambridge Community Foundation
- Chelsea Food Collaborative
- Food for Free
- 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.