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
- Legislative Updates
- Recent Press
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
Health Connector Simple Sign-up Program:
The Simple Sign-up program is an easy new way for Massachusetts residents to get access to health insurance. Simple Sign-up is a new fill-in option on your Massachusetts state tax return to opt in to get information about health insurance options through the Massachusetts Health Connector. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3CIfvVc
Moderna seeks approval for second COVID-19 booster shot for adults
Moderna is seeking approval for a fourth COVID-19 vaccination shot, pending a grant for emergency authorization use from the Food and Drug Administration, the company announced Thursday. This would be the second booster shot Moderna has issued for people ages 18 and up if approved. Learn more: https://wbur.fm/3Jpwz55
Pfizer-BioNTech will seek authorization for second COVID booster for older adults
Pfizer and BioNTech are planning to ask the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a second COVID-19 booster shot for people 65 and older. They plan to seek emergency authorization for this additional booster for older adults to strengthen protections against the omicron variant. If authorized, the second booster would bring the vaccination schedule for the Pfizer vaccine to four shots in this age group. Learn more: https://n.pr/3Im3Psy
CHA Vaccine Center Open for Walk-Ins
The CHA Somerville Vaccine Center is now accepting walk-in patients again, subject to availability. 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/
Fuel Assistance Program
The Fuel Assistance Program assists low-income households with winter heating costs between November 1 and April 30. Renters and homeowners in both cities are eligible to apply if they meet the federal income guidelines. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3KN9byI
Apply to CYP Pre-Teen / Middle School Summer Programs:
Cambridge Youth Programs (CYP) Summer Programs offer safe and fun programming for pre-teens and middle schoolers to connect with peers, build leadership skills, and explore a range of enriching activities in an inclusive environment. CYP Summer Programs are open to rising 4-8th graders. Programs will run Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. during three 2-week sessions. Applications will be accepted through DHSP’s Trax registration system through Friday, April 15th. Learn more: https://bit.ly/37EIbmI
Apply to the DHSP Community Schools Summer Camp Lottery
DHSP Community Schools Summer Camps offer a range of educational and recreational activities in a safe, nurturing, and inclusive environment. Camp activities are designed to develop children’s social and emotional growth and build healthy relationships. Applications are accepted through Friday, April 1. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3JkkY7d
COVID-19 Testing Information
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:
- Sunday, from 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
- Monday - Friday, from 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
- Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 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 sites are open during the following hours:
- Monday, from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at CambridgeSide in the Parking Garage on Level G3.
- This will remain walk-up only, not drive-through. Level G3 is accessible by the CambridgeSide’s elevator and escalators. Visitors can park in the garage and proceed to Level G3. Parking will be validated. The Parking Garage entrance is located on CambridgeSide Place.
- 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/3vH5wOL
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, March 17, 2022:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 103,493
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 85,161
Residents with Booster: 52,035
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 14,040,547
Total booster doses administered: 2,895,209
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 16,143,670
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: 1,552,623
New Cases: 813
Total Deaths: 18,932
New PCR Tests: 49,722
Total Cases: 20,699
New Cases: 22
Total Deaths: 161
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 passes legislation prohibiting discrimination based on natural and protective hairstyles and legislation creating a women’s rights history trail.
An Act prohibiting discrimination based on natural and protective hairstyles would
- Define natural hairstyle in statute, prohibit discrimination in schools, employment, housing, and business.
- Ban school policies that restrict natural and protective hairstyles.
- Expand criminal law prohibiting assault and battery for purposes of intimidation to include natural hairstyle and adds natural hairstyle to hate crime data collection and reporting requirements.
An Act relative to the creation of a women’s rights history trail would
- require the secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the executive director or the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism to develop and implement a Women’s Rights History Trail program that designates properties and sites as historically and thematically associated with the struggle for women’s rights and suffrage.
- The Women’s Rights History Trail Task Force would research, solicit public input, and make recommendations for sites, properties, and attractions to be included in the Women’s Rights History Trail program.
Mental health the focus as Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Cambridge Public Hospital
William Dowd, Wicked Local
State Rep. Marjorie Decker, who chairs the Joint Committee on Public Health, did not mince words when she spoke to the need for a better pipeline for treating childhood mental and behavioral health.
“We would not allow a child to sit in a bed with a broken arm or a bleeding wound, and think that they can wait for days or 15 days, and often weeks, and just say, ‘We'll get there,’” she said, "but that is what we do with children in need of behavioral health care.”
Read more at: bit.ly/36xUUal
Window to seek enhanced rental assistance closing as fed funds dry up
State House News Service
The Baker administration will stop accepting new applications for federally funded emergency rental assistance next month, closing the door on a diminishing stream of money that advocates say has provided a “lifeline” to tens of thousands of families under financial strain during the pandemic.
Gov. Charlie Baker proposed adding $60 million to the state’s RAFT account as part of a mid-year spending bill (H 4479). The House bumped that figure up to $100 million in its version approved last week (H 4532), though representatives rejected a Rep. Marjorie Decker amendment backed by advocates that would have effectively applied ERAP’s looser eligibility requirements to the state’s RAFT program.
Read more at: bit.ly/3ub4lEx
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.