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
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
State Announces Over 1 Million At-Home COVID Tests for Residents Served Through Local Food Banks
There will be an additional distribution of free at-home COVID-19 test kits for residents across the Commonwealth. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management, will distribute over 1 million iHealth Labs OTC at-home rapid antigen tests to eight of the largest Massachusetts food banks and food access organizations, increasing access to residents who may not have access to COVID-19 rapid tests through more traditional channels.
List of Food Banks and Food Access Organizations Receiving Test Kits:
- Greater Boston Food Bank
- Worcester County Food Bank
- The Food Bank of Western MA
- Merrimack Valley Food Bank
- Community Servings
- Daily Table
- Food for Free
- About Fresh
For more information, visit: https://bit.ly/3LPnOSv
Protect Yourself, Your Family, and Your Community from COVID-19 flier
The Department of Public Health has developed a flier in PDF and word doc format. This flier is available in languages such as Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, Albanian, Arabic, Cape Verdean Creole, Khmer, Russian, and Somali. To learn more: https://bit.ly/375jBvb
Second Booster Dose authorized for Older and Immunocompromised Individuals
Certain individuals are now eligible and encouraged to receive a 2nd booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Anyone age 50 and older may get a 2nd booster at least 4 months after their 1st booster
- Anyone age 12 and older with certain medical conditions may get a 2nd booster at least 4 months after their 1st booster
- Anyone age 18-49 years with certain medical conditions, and who received Janssen/J&J COVID-19 Vaccine as both their primary series dose and their booster dose, at least 4 months after the first Janssen booster dose
Learn more: https://bit.ly/3DTnEH3.
Appeals Court Upholds Federal Employee Vaccine Mandate
This week, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court and ordered dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the requirement that all federal employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. President Biden issued an executive order September 9 ordering vaccinations for all executive branch agency employees, with exceptions for medical and religious reasons. Learn more at n.pr/3Ksrs4G.
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/
Applications to the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program open April 11
The Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP) connects Cambridge teens with a variety of paid summer jobs in Cambridge and surrounding communities. During Summer 2022, MSYEP will run from July 11 – August 19. Teens work 20 hours a week and are paid minimum wage ($14.25) by the City of Cambridge. In addition to gaining job experience, teens participate in skill-building workshops for one hour each week and have the opportunity to attend college tours, financial literacy training, and a variety of program-sponsored social events during the summer. Applications to MSYEP will be open April 11 – April 29, 2022. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3r7cY2x.
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 email@example.com 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, April 7, 2022:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 103,727
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 85,499
Residents with Booster: 52,917
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 14,208,690
Total booster doses administered: 2,949,450
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 16,383,770
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: 1,574,533
Total Deaths: 19,030
New PCR Tests: 42,774,851
Total Cases: 22,210
New Cases: 103
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.
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.