I write to you today 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
- DPH Resources on COVID-19 and Monkeypox
- This Week’s Case Count
- Legislative Updates
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
Some MA Colleges and Universities are Requiring the Bivalent COVID-19 Booster
Pandemic precautions are still a factor for some colleges and universities. The vaccine requirements of 30 colleges and universities located in the Boston metro area vary. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3sRj87n
MA Offering Gift Cards at Family-Friendly Vaccine Clinics
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is offering a $75 gift card at any of the clinics listed at https://bit.ly/3TObt5o. Gift cards will be offered through December 31, 2022 to any Massachusetts resident (adult or child) who gets vaccinated (first dose, second dose, or booster) while supplies last. You do not need an appointment, but some clinics may encourage pre-registration.
President Biden Receives Updated Booster Shot
President Biden received his updated COVID-19 booster shot last week, which had been delayed in accordance with federal health guidance because he was infected with COVID-19 over the summer. The President urged “all Americans to get their shot, just as soon as they can.” Learn more: https://bit.ly/3Ft3E0U.
Flu and COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics:
The Cambridge Public Health Department is hosting free flu and COVID-19 vaccine clinics for the Cambridge community. Seasonal flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines, including the bivalent booster, will be available. On 11/16, they are partnering with VaxAbilities. This event will have extra staff on hand to provide skilled support to people with disabilities and/or sensory support needs. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3xpweeG
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.
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: 112,431
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 90,256
Residents with 1 Booster: 60,502
Residents with 2 Boosters: 23,778
Total doses administered: 16,544,996
Total first booster doses administered: 3,343,111
Total second booster doses administered: 1,165,686
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: 1,915,290
New Cases: 5,569
Total Deaths: 20,614
New PCR Tests: 104,920
Total Cases: 33,646
New Cases: 16
Total Deaths: 173
State interactive data dashboard: bit.ly/3Pe3hJk
Harvard COVID dashboard: bit.ly/3z8sa3C.
Step Therapy Bill Signed Into Law
Thank you to Governor Baker for signing An Act Relative to step therapy and patient safety into law earlier this week. Big thanks as well to Representative Jeffrey Roy, my partner in filing the bill, and to House Speaker Ron Mariano, House Ways & Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, & House Chair of Health Care Financing John Lawn for guiding it past the finish line. I’m also grateful to our partners in the Senate, including Senator Julian Cyr who filed the bill on the Senate side, and Senate Leadership who helped move the bill forward.
This important patient protection measure comes through the dedication of patients, providers, advocates at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in MA, and my colleagues in the Legislature. It will improve health outcomes by giving patients the power to advocate for their health care with the support of their providers.
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.