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
- COVID-19 Testing Information
- MA Vaccination Updates
- DPH Resources on COVID-19 and Monkeypox
- This Week’s Case Count
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
Historic $130 Million Workforce Loan Repayment Program for Health Care Workers.
The State announced a significant step in addressing the healthcare workforce shortage by contracting with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to implement a $130 million loan repayment program to support and retain the behavioral health and primary care workforce. Funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Trust Fund. Applications will be open in December to qualifying employees.
Massachusetts Will Send COVID Tests to Schools Ahead of the Holidays
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be providing four at-home COVID tests for each student and educator ahead of the holidays. Health experts expect COVID cases to rise as more people travel for what will be the third Thanksgiving season in the pandemic. Learn more: https://wbur.fm/3Of3PPx
Moderna Says Updated Booster Generated ‘Significantly Higher’ Neutralizing Antibodies Against BA.4/BA.5 Subvariants.
The updated Covid-19 booster generated “significantly higher” neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 subvariants than its earlier shot. The bivalent booster used in the United States is known as mRNA-1273.222; it contains Moderna’s original vaccine and a vaccine specifically designed against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. Learn more: https://cnn.it/3EgiuW4
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:
- 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 cic-health.com/cambridge, or assistance is available from CIC’s Customer Service Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 877-280-2937.
Please note that the CIC Health COVID-19 test site at 295 Third Street will close on November 23 at noon and will remain closed November 24-26 due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Testing will resume as normal on November 27.
State COVID-19 Testing
Please visit mass.gov/GetTested.
Home PCR Tests for Adults
Please visit t.ly/vL4j for details and to request a test kit.
MA Vaccination Updates
Vaccines and Boosters for Children
As a reminder, everyone ages 6 months or older is eligible to be vaccinated and everyone ages 5 years or older is eligible to be boosted. Children who have received a two-dose primary series of any vaccine and those who have received boosters are eligible to get the updated bivalent booster as long as two months have passed since their last dose.
- 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.
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 113,976
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 90,931
Residents with 1 Booster: 61,210
Residents with 2 Boosters: 26,717
Total doses administered: 16,853,271
Total first booster doses administered: 3,382,227
Total second booster doses administered: 1,302,457
DPH Resources on COVID-19 and Monkeypox
COVID-19 FAQs: https://bit.ly/3aLrW99
Monkeypox information: mass.gov/monkeypox
This Week’s COVID-19 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: 1,925,311
New Cases: 4,497
Total Deaths: 20,769
New PCR Tests: 94,492
Total Cases: 33,812
New Cases: 15
Total Deaths: 175
State interactive data dashboard: bit.ly/3Pe3hJk
Harvard COVID dashboard: bit.ly/3z8sa3C.
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
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
Thanks to everyone who has generously contributed to many organizations serving vulnerable people locally, nationally, and globally. If you are able to donate, please visit https://bit.ly/3fyEWkw for places serving those most affected by COVID-19 and https://bit.ly/3SMFeCU for 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.