I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources as well as recent legislative news. I hope that you saw my earlier email about the Supreme Court decisions this week on gun laws and abortion rights.
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
COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 6 months to 4 years old
Children ages 6 months through 4 years old who live in Massachusetts are now able to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is safe and effective. You don’t need an ID or insurance to get it. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3tWptiO
RMV announces updated road test locations:
Beginning June 21, 2022, for the first time since the start of the pandemic, the RMV will offer Road Tests at the following service centers.
- Easthampton (Class D only) – Tuesdays and Wednesdays
- Martha’s Vineyard (Class D and M) – Tuesdays only
- Southbridge (Class D only) – Thursdays and Fridays
- South Yarmouth (Class D and M) – Wednesdays and Thursdays
Road tests at these locations can be scheduled through Mass.Gov/RMV or through the Contact Center at 857-368-8000.
CDC now also recommends Moderna’s COVID vaccine for adolescents
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s outside vaccine advisers voted unanimously on Thursday to expand their recommendations for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to virtually all ages of children, adding the first alternative to Pfizer’s shots for millions of adolescents and school-age kids. Learn more: https://cbsn.ws/3xQZzOn
FDA Authorizes Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccines for Children Down to 6 Months of Age:
On June 17th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 to include use in children down to 6 months of age. Learn more: https://bit.ly/39HI0Z8
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
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/
The City of Cambridge 9th Cycle of Participatory Budgeting
The City of Cambridge has launched the 9th cycle of Participatory Budgeting (PB) and is seeking ideas from the community on how to spend $1 million on projects to improve Cambridge. The Idea Collection phase will be open from June 1 – July 31, 2022. Winning projects from past PB cycles have included youth center upgrades, home essentials for newly housed residents, solar panels for the Main Library, laundry access in public schools, and many more. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3QM6Acc
Memorial Drive Phase 3 Public Meeting:
The Memorial Drive Phase III public meeting will take place on Thursday June 30th, 2022 from 6:00pm – 7:30pm. This meeting project will help provide improvement for pedestrians and bicyclists that further enhance the Memorial Drive parkway as a recreational amenity and important bicycle and pedestrian corridor. Memorial Drive Phase III project limits are from JFK Street (i.e., the Anderson Bridge) to the Eliot Bridge in Cambridge. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3QJF5zL
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.
PLEASE NOTE: During the weekend of June 25-26, test results will be delayed slightly due to a planned processing lab closure. Test results will likely not be available for 36-48 hours.
Cambridge Walk-In Testing Pausing After July 6
The City expanded its free, 7-day per week COVID-19 PCR testing program by adding an additional walk-in testing site on Saturdays for the month of June. Walk-in COVID-19 PCR testing will be offered two days per week in June as follows:
- Wednesdays, from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church.
- Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at 85 Bishop Allen Drive, Christian Life Center, owned and operated by St. Paul’s AME (beginning Saturday, June 4 and continuing on June 11, June 18, and June 25)
For more information please visit: https://bit.ly/3xzCoYH
Due to declining numbers at the City’s walk-in testing sites on Wednesdays and Saturdays and the success of the testing partnership with CIC Health, the City will be pausing its walk-in testing program after July 6. The final day of testing at the Christian Life Center (85 Bishop Allen Drive) will be Saturday, June 25 and the final day of testing at St. John’s (2254 Massachusetts Ave) will be Wednesday, July 6. Signage and handouts will be available at these sites to inform the public of this change.
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
As of this week, children ages 6 months to 4 years old are now eligible to receive the safe, effective, and free COVID-19 vaccine. You will not be required to provide an ID or insurance to vaccinate your child. Retail pharmacies, including Walgreens, are expected to offer vaccinations for children ages 3 and older. CVS has said that its MinuteClinics will vaccinate children 18 months and up. However, parents with the youngest kids in this age group should first contact their family doctor for a vaccine appointment.
- Pharmacies: CVS and Walgreens locations
- Mass General Brigham (for patients): Schedule an appointment through vaccines.gov or vaxfinder.mass.gov, or text your zip code to 438829; or call 1-800-232-0233. Vaccines are available through primary care appointments.
- 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. Information as of Thursday, June 23rd, 2022:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 104,833
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 86,296
Residents with Booster: 55,904
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 14,980,659
Total booster doses administered: 3,108,962
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.
Total Cases: 1,757,405
New Cases: 1,727
Total Deaths: 19,667
New PCR Tests: 36,186
Total Cases: 30,017
New Cases: 50
Total Deaths: 166
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:
Plane with imported baby formula from London lands in Boston:
On Monday, Delta airlines delivered large palettes of Kendamil formula from London Heathrow Airport to Boston Logan Airport. In total, the White House says 212,000 pounds of Kendamil formula will be imported into the U.S. from overseas between June 20 and June 24, the sixth of Operation Fly Formula’s trips and part of the Biden Administration’s strategy to combat the shortage. Learn more: https://cbsn.ws/3zZRY2L
Ten Operation Fly Formula Flights Scheduled for Week of June 13:
Nine Operation Fly Formula flights were scheduled for the week of June 13. They were projected to import more than 4 million, 8-ounce bottle equivalents of infant formula to the United States. By June 19, Operation Fly Formula flights will have imported nearly 12 million 8-ounce bottle equivalents of infant formula. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3QES71G
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.
House passes transportation and infrastructure bill
This week the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed H.4897 An Act relative to Massachusetts’s transportation resources and climate, authorizing $10.9 billion for projects, including $400 million for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to address ongoing safety concerns identified by the Federal Transit Administration’s Safety Management Inspection and $250 million for the East-West passenger rail project.
- $2,812,457,157 for projects on the interstate and non-interstate federal highway system
- $1,270,000,000 for non-federally aided roadway and bridge projects and for the nonparticipating portion of federally aided projects
- $85,000,000 for pavement and surface conditions on non-federally aided roadways
- $25,000,000 for pavement and surface conditions on municipal roadways
- $20,000,000 for grants to municipalities under the Complete Streets Funding Program
- $25,000,000 for grants to Transportation Management Associations
- $82,000,000 for rail improvements
- $64,900,000 for projects of regional transit networks and facilities
- $1,375,000,000 for sustainable transit system modernization and rail improvements
- $114,100,000 for the Airport Improvement Program
- $145,000,000 for multi-modal transportation planning and programming
- $10,000,000 for a public realm improvement program
- $3,500,000,000 for projects funded with discretionary federal grant funds
- $25,501,000 for the Mobility Assistance Program
- $200,000,000 for projects that reduce emissions such as public alternative fueling stations and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, programs promoting e-bikes and public transportation, replacement of high-emissions vehicles, electric vehicles for hire and carsharing, electric school buses, electric short-haul freight, and delivery trucks
Additionally, the bill:
- Updates safety requirements to be met prior to excavation projects
- Authorizes vehicles or trailers used for maintenance, construction activities in highway work zones to display flashing blue lights with a permit from the registrar
- Requires the MBTA to provide parking alternatives to commuters when it demolishes or reconstructs parking lots or garages it owns or operates
- Requires MassDOT, in consultation with the Comptroller, to develop and operate a publicly accessible and searchable database to report on this bill’s expenditures and any project receiving federal funding from the federal Infrastructure and Investment in Jobs Act of 2021
- Establishes a commission to review and receive testimony concerning public entities, including those that may be created by statute in the future, with the ability to design, permit, construct, operate and maintain passenger rail service that meets the standards of the Final Alternatives in the East-West Passenger Rail Study Final Report issued by MassDOT in 2021
‘You don’t have to wait for Congress to save lives’ when it comes to passing statewide gun control laws
By Yvonne Abraham, Boston Globe
We will grow old, and many more of us will die in mass shootings, before we see the kinds of measures we truly need here — like a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, or, at the very least, a law prohibiting 18-year-olds from buying such murder machines.
But the large majority of Americans interested in fundamental, common sense gun safety measures don’t have to sit around and wait for the National Rifle Association’s vassals in Washington to toss them crumbs.
That’s the message Massachusetts legislators are trying to send, via an open letter to their fellow legislators across the country. Developed by Cambridge Democrat Marjorie Decker with backing from House Speaker Ron Mariano, the letter touts the common sense gun laws passed here, and urges those who want to enact similar laws in their states to use Massachusetts as a resource.
“You don’t have to wait for Congress to save lives,” Decker said. “People are dying.”
Learn more: https://bit.ly/3ODWFn8
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.