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 Department of Public Health releases updated face covering advisory:
The Department of Public Health (DPH) now advises that a fully vaccinated person should wear a mask or face covering when indoors (and not in your own home) if you have a weakened immune system, if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system and is at increased risk for severe disease or is unvaccinated. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a face covering or mask when indoors with others to help prevent spreading COVID-19. For more information, visit: https://bit.ly/3LGfq8y
Pfizer postpones FDA request for Covid vaccine for kids under 5
Pfizer has announced that it will wait for its data on a three-dose series of the vaccine to submit its application to the Food and Drug Administration to expand the use of its Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years. Data is expected in early April. Learn more: https://nbcnews.to/3Lvh9O8.
CHA Vaccine Center Open for Walk-Ins
The CHA Somerville Vaccine Center is now accepting walk-in patients again, subject to availability. They are also hosting special Saturday clinics on 2/19 and 3/5. 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/
Youth Build Just a Start Now Enrolling
Youth Build Just a Start is helping youth from ages 16-24 who live in Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Revere, or Somerville with completing their HiSET and getting a job, all while receiving a stipend! Info sessions are held every Tuesday at 2:00 pm. For more information please visit: https://bit.ly/33mTpuk
City of Cambridge Scholarship Program Applications Can Be Submitted Completely Online by March 7th
Applications for the 2022 City of Cambridge Scholarship are currently being accepted. The fund provides financial assistance to college-bound high school seniors and other Cambridge residents who wish to pursue post-secondary education. Applications can be submitted at: Cambridgema.gov/cityscholarship.
COVID-19 Testing Information
Upcoming Saturday Testing Dates
The City will offer Saturday testing on these 4 dates at the Christian Life Center (owned and operated by St. Paul AME Church), located at 85 Bishop Allen Drive. Testing on these Saturday dates will be from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- February 19, 2022
- February 26, 2022
- March 5, 2022
Cambridge Offering Testing 7 Days Per Week
People who live or work in Cambridge can now book an appointment and be tested for free at CIC Health’s 295 Third Street location in Cambridge any day of the week. To schedule an appointment, please visit cic-health.com/cambridge.
Walk-In Cambridge COVID-19 Testing Sites
- Monday: 4:00 - 8:00 PM at the CambridgeSide mall
- Wednesday: 2:00 - 6:00 PM at 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church
- Thursday: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM at the CambridgeSide mall
- Sunday: 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM at 50 Church Street
The testing site at the CambridgeSide mall has moved to the G3 Level of the mall parking garage. G3 is accessible by the mall’s elevator and escalators. Residents can park in the garage and proceed to G3 by foot or walk into the mall and head down to Level G3. Learn more at cambridgema.gov/covid19/testing.
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
COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics During School Break
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is offering free, family-friendly COVID-19 vaccination clinics during school vacation week, February 20-26. $25 gift cards available while supplies last. To find one near you, visiit https://mass.gov/kidsclinic.
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, February 17, 2022:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 102,902
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 84,669
Residents with Booster: 50,453
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 13,839,452
Total booster doses administered: 2,796,694
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 15,906,850
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: 1,529,953
New Cases: 1,983
Total Deaths: 22,408
New PCR Tests: 80,083
Total Cases: 19,274
New Cases: 84
Total Deaths: 141
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 of Representative passes the Work and Family Mobility Act
This week, the House of Representative passed H4661, An Act relative to work and family mobility. This legislation ensures that everyone has access to tools that they need to thrive.
This bill will:
- Allow all residents of Massachusetts to apply for a standard Massachusetts driver's license, regardless of immigration status.
- Update the application process for standard Massachusetts driver's licenses to include additional documentation traditionally possessed by immigrants without status.
- Include privacy protections for data submitted at the Registry of Motor Vehicles during the application process.
- Ensures all drivers have: standardized identification, insurance, & standardized road safety training.
Cash aid to address poverty emerging as budget issue
WWLP/Chris Van Buskirk, State House News Service
As the fiscal 2023 budget makes its way through the process over the next few months, a statewide advocacy group is urging lawmakers to include in the proposal an increase to cash assistance grants for children and families living in poverty.
The Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) program provides eligible families or individuals with temporary cash assistance and services depending on their gross income. Supporters with the Lift Our Kids Coalition say an increase in program payments can help children avoid “deep poverty” and help families provide basic necessities.
“We’re not even talking about bringing people to a place where they’re thriving, we’re still talking about bringing people to a place where they will survive, which is very different than thrive,” said Rep. Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge). “Everybody in my worldview has the right to thrive.”
Read more: bit.ly/3gXKvqj
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.