I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources as well as recent legislative news.
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’s COVID-19 PCR testing site at CICHealth’s 295 Third St. location will be closed on Saturday, January 29
Expanded appointment capacity has been added for this Friday, January 28 and Sunday, January 30. Learn more: https://camb.ma/3o7WRjx.
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.
Free N95 masks are arriving at pharmacies and grocery stores
As part of President Biden’s plan to deploy 400 million free N95 masks to the public, free N95 face coverings are starting to arrive at pharmacies and grocery stores. Every person is allowed up to 3 free masks pending availability. Learn more: https://wbur.fm/3g3Bnjx.
Vaccine and Booster Clinic on Monday
The City of Cambridge is offering a COVID-19 vaccine and booster clinic for eligible people who live or work in Cambridge at the CambridgeSide mall on Monday, January 31 from 4PM to 8PM. Learn more - https://camb.ma/3H8EUJ7
Pop-Up Vaccine Clinics 2/7 & 3/2
Boston Medical Center is holding pop-up vaccine clinics at the Prospect Hill Academy Middle & High School Library at 50 Essex St in Cambridge. The first dose is on Monday, February 7 from 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM and the second dose is on Wednesday, March 2 from 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM. Kids ages 5-12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
CPL Hosting Virtual Event on Variants, Breakthroughs & Boosters 2/2
Dr. Gaurav Gaiha and Dr. Wilfredo Garcia Beltran of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard will present information at a virtual event hosted by the Cambridge Public Library on how the immune system reacts to Omicron and other variants, why breakthrough infections occur, and how boosters can prevent severe infection symptoms. Additionally, Derrick Neal, Chief Public Health Officer of the Cambridge Public Health Department, will discuss the rise of COVID-19 cases in our community and how we can continue to protect ourselves and others. A question-and-answer session will follow. Pre-registration is required for the Zoom link: cambridgepl.libcal.com/event/8762561.
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 2/5, 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.
Snow Removal Resources for Seniors and People with Disabilities
Property owners are required to shovel the sidewalks that abut their property down to the bare pavement. The path shoveled must be at least 3 feet wide (wide enough for someone using a wheelchair, walker, or stroller). The Cambridge Council on Aging offers resources to Cambridge seniors (adults over the age of 60) and people with disabilities who need assistance shoveling. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3AF58k5.
RMV Cancels Road Tests for tomorrow, January 29, 2022
Due to the impending snow storm tomorrow, the RMV has canceled all road tests scheduled across the state.
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 27, 2022:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 101,676
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 84,092
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 13,568,755
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 15,593,650
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: 1,473,496
New Cases: 7,181
Total Deaths: 21,336
New PCR Tests: 105,896
Total Cases: 18,202
New Cases: 115
Total Deaths: 135
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 VOTES Act
Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed H.4359 - the VOTES Act. This legislation includes:
- Permanent early voting with mandated weekend hours, mail-in voting for all voters and with accessibility accommodations based on disability and language needs
- Voter registration deadline reduced from 20 to 10 days before an election
- Allows for continued use of ballot drop boxes
- Expands bilingual access to ballot and registration
- Expands automatic voter registration
- Includes jail-based voting reforms:
- Registration and vote-by-mail assistance
- Improved education on the right to vote for eligible incarcerated individuals
- Increased digital access for online ballot requests
- A study of Election Day Registration to be performed by the Secretary of State on feasibility and cost for each of the 351 cities and towns
I was supportive of efforts to include an amendment that would allow for election day registration in the final bill throughout yesterday’s debate. While it ultimately was not included, I am thankful for the measures that this bill does include to expand voting rights in our state. This issue will continue to be negotiated in a House/Senate conference committee and I will continue to support it there
Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools Home Rule Petition Laid Before the Governor
H3996 An Act authorizing the city of Cambridge to utilize certain land used for park, playground or recreation uses for general municipal purposes, including but not limited to school purposes, and for installation of subsurface geothermal wells in certain land used for park, playground or recreation uses was passed to be enacted by the House of Representatives last week during Formal Session. This week, the Senate passed the bill to be enacted. It has now been laid before the Governor. This Home Rule is required to complete the Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools Project in Cambridge.
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.