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
- Recent Press
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
$75 million grant program to support Massachusetts small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic:
The new program is modeled after Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation’s (MGCC) successful COVID-19 small business relief program. $50M is for small businesses impacted by COVID-19, that focus on reaching markets predominantly made up of socially and economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented groups, and those owned by minorities, women, veterans, individuals with disabilities, or those that identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. The other $25M is for businesses that have not previously received financial relief from MGCC’s previous relief programs. To learn more please visit https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/.
CDC Releases New Masking Guidance
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it is relaxing its mask guidance for communities where hospitals aren't under high strain. Under this new guidance, about 70% of the country lives in areas where there is a low to medium risk of COVID-19 and are advised that they can be indoors without masks. Learn more here: https://n.pr/3hh9pkL.
City updating Mask Mandate for Public Spaces and City Buildings
The City of Cambridge announced that due to the sustained improvement to the City’s COVID-19 metrics over the past month, it will lift its mask requirement for indoor public places effective at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2022. Cambridge has seen a steady decrease in reported cases, test positivity, and COVID-19 virus detection in the City’s municipal wastewater monitoring program. For more information please visit https://bit.ly/3hfL3I4.
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 a special Saturday clinic on 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/
College Success Initiative Staff is Now Available to CRLS Students:
The College Success Initiative (CSI), serves Cambridge students and families who are underrepresented in higher education. CSI connects CRLS graduates who are planning to attend Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) or UMass Boston (UMB) with Success Coaches to help them succeed inside and outside the classroom. CSI Success Coaches will be at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School March 1 – April 15, 2022 to meet with students interested in attending BHCC or UMB. For more information visit www.cambridgema.gov/CollegeSuccess.
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 2 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 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
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 24, 2022:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 103,110
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 84,884
Residents with Booster: 50,944
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 13,904,349
Total booster doses administered: 2,831,838
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 15,977,150
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: 1,537,894
New Cases: 1,329
Total Deaths: 22,655
New PCR Tests: 79,786
Total Cases: 19,597
New Cases: 54
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.
Massachusetts deposit bill would increase deposits to 10 cents and include nips and other containers by Michael Silvia, NewBedfordGuide.com
Rep. Marjorie Decker (D) and Sen. Cindy Creem (D) filed a “better bottle” bill would increase the bottle deposit to 10 cents and add more types of containers to the program: nips, vitamin drinks, and water bottles, and drinks that weren’t part of the initial law when it was enacted in the 1980s. Read more: https://bit.ly/35rW5HE.
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.