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
Booster Alert for MA
According to Department of Public Health data, 2.2 million eligible people in Massachusetts still have not gotten their first COVID-19 booster. The new bivalent booster provides protection against Omicron subvariants, which currently make up 100% of COVID-19 cases in the US. You can find booster appointments at vaxfinder.mass.gov by selecting “Booster Dose.”
Omicron boosters for kids 5-11 are cleared by the CDC and FDA
Following US Food and Drug Administration approval, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has authorized updated COVID-19 boosters for children as young as 5. These bivalent boosters offer protection against both the original coronavirus strain and the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 omicron versions. The Pfizer vaccine will be available for 5- to 11-year-olds, and the Moderna will be available for children as young as 6 years old. Learn more: https://n.pr/3SXMpIY.
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: 110,638
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 89,460
Residents with 1 Booster: 59,771
Residents with 2 Boosters: 20,593
Total doses administered: 16,215,809
Total first booster doses administered: 3,306,489
Total second booster doses administered: 1,023,603
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: 1,902,403
New Cases: 7,408
Total Deaths: 20,459
New PCR Tests: 115,032
Total Cases: 33,428
New Cases: 27
Total Deaths: 169
State interactive data dashboard: bit.ly/3Pe3hJk
Harvard COVID dashboard: bit.ly/3z8sa3C.
House Approves Step Therapy Bill
Yesterday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed An Act relative to step therapy and patient safety, a bill that I filed along with Representative Jeffrey Roy. Thank you to Speaker Mariano, Chair Michlewitz, and Chair Lawn for their work advancing this important patient protection legislation. I look forward to the Senate approving it so that we can send it to Governor Baker’s desk.
This bill gives patients the power to advocate for their health care with the support of their health care providers. This is especially important since no one knows the ins and outs of needed treatment like a patient & their team. This legislation is the result of ongoing dialogue, discussions with stakeholders, and compromises. I am grateful to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Massachusetts for their continual advocacy to ensure that patients across the Commonwealth can access the care they need.
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
Domestic Violence Awareness Month Toiletries and Gift Card Drive
To benefit survivors of domestic violence at Transition House & YWCA Cambridge, the YWCA is collecting full size toiletry items that are diverse in hair/skin types as well as gift cards to Target, Amazon, or Visa/MC. Donations can be dropped off Monday through Thursday, 10AM-4PM, at:
- YWCA Cambridge, 7 Temple St., 2nd Floor (through Monday, October 24)
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.