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
- Vaccination Appointment Resources
- This Week’s Case Count
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
Public Health Leaders Urge Vaccination Against Flu & COVID-19
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Massachusetts Medical Society recently issued a letter urging primary care providers to vaccinate their entire patient populations against COVID-19 and the flu. In the letter, they “highly recommend primary care practices incorporate influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations into all routine primary care visits during the fall” and “strongly encourage co-administering of both vaccines where indicated.” Learn more: bit.ly/3RutFiA.
In a statement issued this week, another coalition of healthcare leaders within the Commonwealth urged the public to seek out flu shots and the most recent COVID-19 booster: “We ask you – our patients and our communities - to understand that we are still caring for people who become severely ill and who die because of COVID-19.” The full statement is available at bit.ly/3fPszRr.
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.”
CDC Ends Country-by-Country COVID Travel Advisories
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on October 3 that it will no longer maintain a list of COVID-19 travel advisories for foreign countries. The CDC will instead issue travel health notices only for “a concerning COVID-19 variant” or other health issue in a particular country. According to the CDC, its ability to assess the COVID-19 risk level for travelers accurately is limited as a result of fewer countries testing or reporting COVID-19 cases. Learn more: bit.ly/3CyBj6j.
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 10/19 and 11/16, they are partnering with VaxAbilities. These events 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 email@example.com 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, children aged 6 months and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and children ages 5 years and older are eligible for a COVID-19 booster 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: 109,224
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 88,712
Residents with 1 Booster: 59,108
Residents with 2 Boosters: 17,571
Total doses administered: 15,905,683
Total first booster doses administered: 3,275,633
Total second booster doses administered: 896,236
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: 1,887,130
New Cases: 8,480
New PCR Tests: 118,545
Total Cases 33,076
New Cases: 20
Total Deaths: 169
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
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 at the following locations Monday through Thursday, 10AM-4PM:
- Cambridge City Hall lobby, 795 Mass Ave (through Friday, October 21)
- 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.