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
- Infant Formula Shortage Updates
- Legislative Updates
- Recent Press
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
If you have COVID-19, call your primary care provider immediately to discuss whether you should be seeking treatment. Currently there are at least two options for treatment, depending on your overall health.
As a reminder, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is providing a free telehealth program for residents 18 years and older who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. Residents can connect with a trained health care clinician for a video consultation to determine if they are eligible for Paxlovid, a pill that can reduce the risk for severe symptoms and hospitalization by nearly 90 percent if taken within 5 days of symptom onset. If eligible, they can choose between pickup at their local pharmacy or free overnight delivery (if the prescription is written before 5 p.m. Monday - Friday). Learn more: www.mass.gov/COVIDtelehealth
Changes to Early Education and Care COVID Testing
Beginning this month, early education and care providers will receive free rapid antigen tests on a quarterly basis rather than distributed monthly. Programs that have received tests through Testing for Child Care in the past three months will receive shipments in June. Programs that already received tests for June will only receive tests for July and August later this month. The next distribution of tests will occur in early September to cover that month through November 2022. The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) will continue providing tests to EEC-licensed providers through at least December 2022.
US to drop testing requirement for international travelers
The Biden administration announced Friday that the United States will no longer require a pre-departure COVID-19 test to enter the country starting Sunday.
The requirement will be lifted at 12:01 a.m. ET, according to a senior administration official. The rule change comes more than a year after the country started requiring a negative test for entry and more than two years since the pandemic began. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3HdjwU7
Moderna says updated COVID shot boosts omicron protection:
Vaccine makers are studying updated boosters that might be offered in the fall to better protect people against future coronavirus surges. COVID-19 vaccine makers are studying updated boosters that might be offered in the fall to better protect people against future coronavirus surges. Moderna’s preliminary study results show people given the combination shot experienced an eight-fold increase in virus-fighting antibodies capable of targeting the omicron mutant. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3NHJ0LB
Two new versions of omicron are gaining ground in U.S., according to CDC estimates:
The new figures, which were released Tuesday, are based on modeling, and the CDC’s estimates have missed the mark before. But the overall trend suggests that BA.4 and BA.5 could outcompete the two other omicron sub variants, BA.2 and BA.2.12.1, which together account for most U.S. cases. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3trIskO
The City of Cambridge and Cambridge Public Health Department Issue Mask Advisory & Announce Expanded Free COVID-19 Testing for June
With Cambridge and Middlesex County both in the High COVID-19 Community Level category as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the City of Cambridge and Cambridge Public Health Department today issued an advisory strongly recommending that residents wear masks when indoors outside the home and when around others. People at higher risk for serious illness should consider additional precautions. Higher risk groups include people age 65 and older, people with certain medical conditions, and people who are immunocompromised. You are also at higher risk if you are not fully vaccinated and boosted. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3Nx4332
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics Every Wednesday
The Cambridge Public Health Department is offering 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.
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:
- 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/
Cambridge Pride Brunch Tomorrow
The Office of Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and the Cambridge LGBTQ+ Commission invite members of the local community to their annual Pride Brunch tomorrow, Saturday, June 11 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Cambridge City Hall in the Sullivan Chamber. This event will have entertainment, food, and awards honoring the recipients of the Bayard Rustin Service Award & the Rose Lipkin Scholarship Award. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3tnwEQQ
7th Annual Gun Buy-Back Day Tomorrow, June 11th
Led by Cambridge’s interfaith-based organizations, non-profit community and regional partners, the 7th annual citywide “Safer Homes, Safer Community: Cambridge Gun Buy-Back” initiative is being held tomorrow, Saturday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at two locations. The Reservoir Church in North Cambridge and Margaret Fuller House in The Port will provide safe, convenient locations for participants to drop off unwanted guns with no questions asked and no ID required. Residents are asked to bring firearms unloaded with the safety engaged in a bag, box or case. The unloaded firearms can be left inside the trunk of your vehicle upon arrival. Read more: https://bit.ly/3txscPB
COVID-19 Testing Information
Get free at-home COVID-19 tests
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order a 3rd round of free at-home tests at http://COVIDTests.gov. All households are now able to order an additional 8 free at-home tests bringing the total number of free tests available to each household since the start of the program to 16.
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:
- Monday - Friday, from 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday & Sunday, from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 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 is offered one day per week during the following hours
- 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/3KoefZx
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. Information as of Thursday, June 9th, 2022:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 104,532
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 86,173
Residents with Booster: 55,327
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 14,895,619
Total booster doses administered: 3,082,861
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
Please note that these are only the reported cases. The actual case counts are underreported due to people using rapid tests at home. Three counties in Massachusetts, including Middlesex County, currently have high COVID-19 community levels according to the CDC.
Total Cases: 1,738,138
New Cases: 2,050
Total Deaths: 19,538
New PCR Tests: 35,543
Total Cases: 29,372
New Cases: 47
Total Deaths: 165
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.
Infant Formula Shortage Updates:
Abbott's baby formula plant is reopening in a step that could soon ease the shortage
Abbott says it's restarting the production of infant formula at its Sturgis, Mich., plant in a step that could ease a nationwide formula shortage in the coming weeks.
The facility was forced to close in February after a bacterial contamination was found in the company's formula products. Several babies were sickened and two died after consuming formula made at the plant. Learn more: https://wbur.fm/3trDtk6
New HHS website with Information for Families on the Formula Shortage
For information on measures being taken by the federal government to address the formula shortage and resources on locating baby formula, visit: HHS.gov/formula. You can connect with community resources as well as recommendations from physicians & clinicians.
Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto of Work and Family Mobility Act
The House and Senate overrode the Governor’s veto and enacted into law the Work and Family Mobility Act to promote equity and justice for all MA residents. This bill allows immigrants without legal status to apply for standard driver's licenses in Massachusetts. Immigration reform and road safety advocates have spent years pushing to expand driver's license access to undocumented immigrants.
Mass. legislators consider updating bottle bill to cover water, sports drinks
Jason Brewer, Boston 25 News
Representative Marjorie Decker is the sponsor of H 3289, which would expand the bottle bill to cover a much wider range of products and double from the deposit.
“The sports drinks, the water bottles, those weren’t things that we were purchasing in 1982,” Decker said. “In fact, we need to update the bottle bill because we know that those (drinks) dominate the kind of consumer purchases that are taking place.”
Decker thinks it’s time to move the state’s bottle bill out of the past and into the future. “This is a time in which we’re supposed to be aware of, and understand, what climate change is doing. Plastic pollution plays a really key role in killing our planet and the health of our water and our air.”
Learn more and watch the interview here: https://bit.ly/3QhrLlQ
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.