I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources as well as recent legislative news.
House passes COVID-19 Bill
This week the House passed a $55 million bill that includes:
- $30 million to establish and expand COVID-19 testing locations and purchase COVID-19 tests
- Including – $5 million to increase vaccination rates among kids aged 5-11
- Funds to purchase rapid tests for public school districts
- Requires funds to be distributed in a manner that promotes geographic equity
- Requires organizations receiving funds for on-site testing to provide walk-up appointments
- $25 million for masks for children, faculty, and staff in public school districts
- Allows the continuation of remote notarization and mortgage counseling services until mid-July
- Sets the state primary election date as Tuesday September 6th.
I filed four amendments to this bill, including one that was included in the final bill and ensures that funding allocated to testing for schools is spent on rapid antigen tests.
Thank you to Speaker Ron Mariano, Chair Aaron Michlewitz, and the whole House for amplifying public health tools that work & ensuring more equitable access to them.
Table of Contents
- COVID-19 Testing Information
- State Updates
- National Updates
- Cambridge Updates
- MA Vaccination Updates
- Vaccination Appointment Resources
- Today’s Case Count
- Legislative Updates
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
COVID-19 Testing Information
Cambridge Offering Testing 7 Days Per Week in January
As of Monday, Jan. 3, Cambridge is expanding its free COVID-19 testing program. 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 during the month of January. 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
As of November 1, the testing site at the CambridgeSide mall has returned to walk-in testing inside the mall. 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.
Test and Stay Expanded to Early Childcare
Governor Baker announced Wednesday that he is expanding the state’s test-and-stay program to early childhood centers, so that children exposed to COVID at daycare do not have to quarantine. This program currently exists at K-12 schools and allows students who came into contact with an infected classmate to stay in school and take rapid tests each morning for five school days. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3FRSDCJ.
Updated school COVID-19 testing options
Massachusetts officials announced Tuesday updated school testing options that include weekly at-home rapid tests, as new data on pooled testing and Test and Stay programs show very few positive cases and low transmission rates. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3rHUhBE.
Hotline for Free COVID-19 Tests Now Available
The Biden administration is launching a phone line today for people to order free Covid-19 tests. The phone number is 800-232-0233. You can also order your free COVID-19 tests online at COVIDtests.gov. Learn more: https://nbcnews.to/33UtZUI.
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 1/22, 2/5, 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/
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.
MA Vaccination Updates
High-Capacity Vaccination Sites in Boston, Roxbury, Lynn, Taunton
Eligible residents aged 5 and older can receive their primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations and residents age 12+ can receive their booster shots at these locations:
- Fenway Park, 4 Jersey Street, Boston, MA
- Roxbury: Melnea Cass Recreation Complex, 120 MLK Jr Blvd, Boston, MA
- Roxbury: Whittier Street Health Center, 1290 Tremont Street, Roxbury, MA
- Lynn: North Shore Community College, Modular Building at 300 Broad Street, Lynn, MA
- Taunton: Taunton COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, 2005 Bay Street, Taunton, MA
Walk-ins are accepted and appointments are available at vaxfinder.mass.gov.
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 through MyHealth 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, January 20, 2022:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 100,832
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 83,844
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 13,406,529
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 15,439,450
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: 1,418,149
New Cases: 13,935
Total Deaths: 20,884
New PCR Tests: 134,317
Total Cases: 17,307
New Cases: 318
Total Deaths: 130
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.
Bills I have filed that are being heard next week
One of my bills has been scheduled for legislative hearings next week: An Act to stop mass shootings. The hearing schedule is available at malegislature.gov, where hearings will be livestreamed and available for viewing after they conclude.
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.