I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources as well as recent legislative news.
Table of Contents
- State Updates
- National Updates
- Cambridge Updates
- COVID-19 Testing Information
- MA Vaccination Updates
- Vaccination Appointment Resources
- Today’s Case Count
- Legislative Updates
- Recent Press
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
Massachusetts Approved to Provide Families Additional P-EBT for School Year 2021-2022
Massachusetts has received federal approval to provide Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits to school-age children and their families through the school year 2021-2022. The P-EBT benefits will support students who were unable to attend school due to COVID-related absences. The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) estimates this will provide $22 million in federal financial assistance for the families of more than 475,000 school-age children to buy healthy, local, and culturally appropriate food as Massachusetts continues to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3tQ6gj6
Moratorium on Utility Shut-offs ends today – April 1st
Today ends the winter moratorium on utility shutoffs. The Attorney General’s Office has resources to help individuals at risk of losing their utility service for nonpayment. On the AGO website, we have a utility FAQ page and consumer flyers with details about available programs to manage bills and prevent shutoff.
New COVID.gov Website
The new COVID.gov website is a new one-stop-shop website to help the community have better access to lifesaving tools like vaccines, tests, treatments, and masks, as well as get the latest updates on COVID-19 in their area. This website will also include a new locator tool to help individuals access the over 2,000 test-to-treat sites across the country. To learn more, please visit COVID.gov
FDA Authorizes Second Booster Dose of Two COVID-19 Vaccines for Older and Immunocompromised Individuals
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for older people and certain immunocompromised individuals. This action will now make a second booster dose of these vaccines available to other populations at higher risk for severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3iLEZI8
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics to be Offered Every Wednesday at the Cambridge Public Health Department Beginning April 6
The Cambridge Public Health Department is introducing weekly COVID-19 vaccine clinics for the Cambridge community:
- Wednesdays, April 6 – June 15
- 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Cambridge Public Health Department, 119 Windsor Street, 2nd Floor, Cambridge
- By appointment only
The clinics will offer free COVID-19 vaccines (first, second, and booster doses). Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available to those who are eligible.
- *Appointments can be made at https://bit.ly/Camb-Color
- Residents ages 5 and older are eligible to be vaccinated.
- A parent or guardian must accompany children and teens who are under age 16.
- Teens aged 16 – 17 may come alone if a parent or guardian has completed a consent form via the online registration system.
- You do not need insurance, a social security number, or an ID.
CHA Vaccine Center Open for Walk-Ins
The CHA Somerville Vaccine Center is now accepting walk-in patients again, subject to availability. You can make an appointment through MyCHArt or at bit.ly/3A19n7N.
Where to Get a COVID-19 Booster Shot
This is a list of a few places that we are familiar with that are offering COVID-19 boosters in/near Cambridge for eligible MA residents:
- Cambridge Health Alliance
- CVS (Appointments required)
- 624 Mass. Ave (Central Square)
- Schedule here: bit.ly/3mgBACv.
- Star Market (Walk-ins or appointments)
- 699 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge
- Schedule here: bit.ly/3uujXTv.
- Search by zip-code for other locations https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/
North Cambridge Senior Center Reopens March 28:
Beginning the week of March 28, the Council on Aging is welcoming back additional in-person classes at the Cambridge Senior Center and reopening the North Cambridge Senior Center.
- The North Cambridge Senior Center (2050 Massachusetts Ave.) will be open on Mondays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Fridays 12:00 to 3:30 p.m.
- The Cambridge Senior Center (806 Massachusetts Ave.) will continue to be open Monday 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3tT6q9x
Spring Programming at the War Memorial
The War Memorial Recreation Center, located at 1640 Cambridge St., includes a Field House, multi-purpose room, gymnasium, weight room, and 3 swimming pools. The War Memorial offers a variety of programming for children and adults, including swimming and fitness classes. Spring programming will begin on Monday, April 4. Online registration for Spring classes opens for Cambridge residents on Monday, March 28 at 5:30 p.m. To register for Spring 2022 programming, please visit: https://bit.ly/3DqhrlJ
Fuel Assistance Program
The Fuel Assistance Program assists low-income households with winter heating costs between November 1 and April 30. Renters and homeowners in both cities are eligible to apply if they meet the federal income guidelines. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3KN9byI
Apply to CYP Pre-Teen / Middle School Summer Programs:
Cambridge Youth Programs (CYP) Summer Programs offer safe and fun programming for pre-teens and middle schoolers to connect with peers, build leadership skills, and explore a range of enriching activities in an inclusive environment. CYP Summer Programs are open to rising 4-8th graders. Programs will run Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. during three 2-week sessions. Applications will be accepted through DHSP’s Trax registration system through Friday, April 15th. Learn more: https://bit.ly/37EIbmI
COVID-19 Testing Information
Cambridge Appointment-Only Testing
Appointment-only testing, provided through a partnership with CIC Health, is available 7 days per week to people who live or work in Cambridge. Testing at CIC Health’s 295 Third Street location is available during the following hours:
- Sunday, from 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Monday – Friday, from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
- Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Appointments can be booked online at www.cic-health.com/cambridge or assistance is available from CIC’s Customer Service Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 877-280-2937.
Cambridge Walk-In Testing
Walk-in testing sites are open during the following hours:
- Monday, from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at CambridgeSide in the Parking Garage on Level G3.
- This will remain walk-up only, not drive-through. Level G3 is accessible by the CambridgeSide’s elevator and escalators. Visitors can park in the garage and proceed to Level G3. Parking will be validated. The Parking Garage entrance is located on CambridgeSide Place.
- Wednesday, from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church.
For more information please visit: https://bit.ly/3vH5wOL
State COVID-19 Testing
To find a COVID-19 testing site in Massachusetts, visit mass.gov/GetTested.
Home PCR Tests for Adults
Lab-based PCR testing with home collection is available at no cost to all eligible Massachusetts adults. Kits are reserved for adults (18+) who live or work in a congregate setting, are experiencing symptoms, have recently been in contact with someone with COVID-19, or who have otherwise been recommended for testing. Please visit the Pixel by LabCorp for Massachusetts webpage at t.ly/vL4j for details, and to request a test kit.
MA Vaccination Updates
Vaccination Locations for Children Ages 5-11
- Pharmacies: CVS and Walgreens locations
- Mass General Brigham (for patients): covidvaccine.massgeneralbrigham.org/MA
- Boston Children’s Hospital (for patients): Schedule an appointment through the hospital’s MyChildren’s Patient Portal or call 617-919-7102.
- Atrius Health (for patients): Parents can schedule an appointment directly throughMyHealth Online or call their child’s doctor’s office.
- Pediatricians’ Offices: Call your child’s doctor or nurse to determine vaccine availability.
- To see all Massachusetts vaccine locations and make appointments, go to vaxfinder.mass.gov or VaxAbilities.com for children with sensory and/or other accommodation needs.
Mobile Vaccination Services
You can find hours and dates for mobile vaccination clinics at t.ly/qTMc.
CHA Offering Walk-In Vaccinations
These sites are open to all Massachusetts residents age 12 and older:
- Cambridge Hospital
- East Cambridge Care Center
- Malden Care Center
CHA is also offering “pop-up” vaccination clinics – information on hours and locations here: https://www.challiance.org/patients-visitors/covid-19-vaccine.
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. Information as of Thursday, March 31, 2022:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 103,651
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 85,313
Residents with Booster: 52,575
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 14,112,255
Total booster doses administered: 2,929,386
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 16,263,870
Vaccination Appointment Resources
Resources for Booking and Getting to Your Appointment
- Online: Visit vaxfinder.mass.gov/. You can also book directly with a pharmacy at cvs.com or walgreens.com.
- 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. Boosters are also available.
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.
Today’s Case Count
Total Cases: 1,565,836
New Cases: 1,442
Total Deaths: 19,006
New PCR Tests: 69,688
Total Cases: 21,560
New Cases: 63
Total Deaths: 161
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.
House approves annual road-funding bill
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill authorizing $200 million for Chapter 90 program financing repairs to municipal roads and bridges and an additional $150 million for other transportation programs. The bill also authorizes:
- $30 million for the municipal small bridge repair program;
- $30 million for the Complete Streets grant program;
- $25 million for municipal grants for bus-related projects; and
- $25 million for grants supporting efforts to increase access to mass transit and commuter rail stations.
A battle over policies: What are the two bills to improve recycling in Massachusetts?
By Rachael Devaney, Cape Cod Times
The Better Bottle Bill was written and passed in 1982, but the legislation hasn’t been updated since then. The most recent overhaul was introduced in October 2021 by Rep. Marjorie Decker, D-Cambridge, and Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem, D-Newton, who want to expand the measure to include water bottles, bottles for juices, vitamin drinks, nips, sports drinks, iced teas, and other beverage containers that didn’t exist when the original bill was passed. Lawmakers also are proposing to increase bottle deposits from 5 to 10 cents. Read more: https://bit.ly/3LyOJln.
Mental Health Services and Resources
If you or a loved one are struggling, please know that you are not alone. There are some great resources here: decker4rep.com/2021/mental-health-services-and-resources/.
Intimate Partner Abuse Prevention Helpline For MA residents
Thanks to COVID-19 relief funds from the CARES ACT, Massachusetts has a helpline that people can call for help rather than harming their partner. Open to any resident, the helpline is the first in the nation of its kind. This initiative is designed to prevent intimate partner violence by fostering accountability and change in people who harm or may harm their intimate partner. You can find more information at 10to10helpline.org or by calling 877-898-3411.
Where to Give
If you are able to give to others during this time, I encourage you to look to places that are working to help those most affected by COVID-19: decker4rep.com/2021/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: decker4rep.com/2021/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.