I write to you today with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources as well as recent legislative news.
It was an honor to be invited by the White House to a meeting today to discuss mental and behavioral health issues with over a dozen state legislators from across the country. It's inspiring to share legislative successes and ideas. I’m grateful that President Biden has named tackling the mental health crisis a key pillar of his Unity Agenda.
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
COVID-19 Particles in Local Wastewater Increasing
Levels of COVID-19 virus particles in Massachusetts Water Resource Authority wastewater have more than doubled over the past week and are the highest seen since May. Public health officials including the Boston Public Health Commission expect a corresponding rise in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the coming days and recommend that people get vaccinated, get boosted, and wear masks indoors in public spaces to lower their risk of infection. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3fyXscM.
CDC Revises Masking Guidance for Health Care Facilities
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its infection control guidance, making mask requirements optional for health care facilities in areas where community transmission is not labeled “high” - currently only one-quarter of the country. The revised guidelines will have no immediate effect in Massachusetts, as COVID transmission remains at the highest level and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has not rescinded its own guidance requiring patients, residents, staff, vendors, and visitors to wear a mask in all health care settings.
Walgreens Pharmacy Issues
You may have seen some people reporting that Walgreens shut down two of its Cambridge pharmacies. I want to make sure that you have accurate information. These pharmacies were temporarily closed due to a staffing issue. Sadly, this is not unique to Walgreens or to Cambridge. We have been in communication with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which is working with Walgreens to ensure that there is greater accountability and predictability for customers in accessing the pharmacy while they try to address their staffing needs.
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: 108,590
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 88,384
Residents with 1 Booster: 58,814
Residents with 2 Boosters: 16,080
Total doses administered: 15,748,883
Total first booster doses administered: 3,259,184
Total second booster doses administered: 835,665
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: 1,878,6550
New Cases: 9,047
Total Deaths: 20,292
New PCR Tests: 125,275
Total Cases: 32,968
New Cases: 35
Total Deaths: 168
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.