I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources as well as recent legislative news. I hope that you had a pleasant August.
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
5 Million Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests for Massachusetts Residents
The state is distributing a total of 5 million free at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests this fall, with 3.5 million going to municipalities and 1.5 million going to food banks. In addition to the rapid antigen tests, cities and towns can also request personal protective equipment, including KN95, surgical and children’s masks. Allocations to municipalities will be based on population size. Municipalities can request tests and PPE through September 16, 2022, and shipments are expected to arrive before mid-October. Learn more:https://wbur.fm/3TWZgMk.
CDC Recommends Updated Booster Shots for Better Protection Against Omicron
On September 1, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the use of updated (bivalent) COVID-19 booster shots for better protection against COVID-19 Omicron variants. The updated Moderna booster is authorized for people ages 18 years and older. The updated Pfizer booster is authorized for people ages 12 years and older. The CDC expects to recommend updated COVID-19 boosters for other pediatric groups in the coming weeks. Individuals are eligible to receive the new bivalent booster dose if it has been at least two months since they completed a primary vaccine series or received their most recent booster dose. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3qgfZN0
If you’ve had a recent COVID-19 infection, you may consider delaying a booster shot by three months, according to the recommendation from CDC vaccine advisors. Learn more: https://n.pr/3RxXwHM.
Booster Requirement Lifted for Before- and After-School Activities
The Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) has decided to lift its expanded requirement that students be boosted to participate in CPS-sponsored before- and after-school activities. The decision was made in collaboration with the Cambridge Public Health Department after considering the ongoing update of boosters and the complexity of eligibility. Students are still required to be fully vaccinated to participate in these activities. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3QBDavL.
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, 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: 107,220
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 87,501
Residents with 1 Booster: 57,871
Residents with 2 Boosters: 12,125
Total doses administered: 15,385,832
Total first booster doses administered: 3,212,933
Total second booster doses administered: 703,154
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: 1,852,576
New Cases: 6,623
Total Deaths: 20,169
New PCR Tests: 102,127
Total Cases: 32,403
New Cases: 22
Total Deaths: 167
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
I would like to thank Mayor Siddiqui who continues to raise awareness for supporting the people of Pakistan who are suffering through worsening floods that are the consequences of climate change. On August 25th, the Pakistani government declared a national state of emergency due to flooding that has killed over 1,000 people since June and affected 33 million people. The damage of the floods is set to hit $10 billion, and more than 1.2 million homes have been destroyed. Residents of Sindh and Balochistan have had to move due to property damage and the endangerment of their safety. Pakistan experienced an unprecedented heat wave in March and April, and the UN has described the current floods as “the footprint of climate change.” You can learn more about how the floods are linked to climate change here: https://bbc.in/3Bts7Aw.
You can donate to the below organizations that are working to provide relief to those who have been impacted by these floods:
As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.