Friday, January 13 COVID-19 & Legislative Updates

Dear all,

I write to you this evening 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
  • This Week’s Case Count
  • Recent Press
  • Mental Health Services and Resources
  • Where to Give


State Updates:

MA Health Connector Open Enrollment Ends Soon

Open Enrollment at the Health Connector ends on January 23, 2023. Residents who need coverage can apply now for health insurance that starts February 1. Learn more at

MA Still Offering Gift Cards at Family-Friendly Vaccine Clinics

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is still ​​offering a $75 gift card at any of the clinics listed at Gift cards will now be offered through March 31, 2023 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.

State Public Awareness Campaign on Extra Pandemic SNAP Benefits Ending

The state has launched a new website,, to help residents plan for the end of extra temporary SNAP benefits. The SNAP Emergency Allotments were made available in March 2020 under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act and will end on March 2, 2023 following recent federal legislation. Over the next several months, individuals and families should explore any optional expenses that may increase their regular SNAP benefits. Also, Massachusetts households who get SNAP benefits automatically can participate in the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). 


National Updates:

Free COVID-⁠19 Tests Available by Mail

Households are now able to order free rapid at-home COVID-19 tests again from as part of a broader White House winter COVID preparedness plan. Most Massachusetts residents can also show their insurance card to get free rapid antigen tests at the pharmacy desk of stores like CVS and Walgreens every 30 days. The government is urging people to test themselves when they have symptoms, and before visiting with family. Learn more:


Cambridge Updates

City Offering Free At-Home COVID Tests

The Cambridge Public Health Department, in partnership with the Cambridge Health Alliance, is providing free COVID-19 rapid antigen at-home test kits. They can be picked up Monday through Friday in the CHA lobby at 119 Windsor Street.

Middlesex County at High COVID-19 Community Level

As of January 5, 2023, the CDC reports that Middlesex County has entered the High COVID-19 Community Level. Community Levels are determined by a combination of reported COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Learn more at


COVID-19 Testing Information

State COVID-19 Testing

Please visit

Home PCR Tests for Adults 

Please visit 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 or for children with sensory and/or other accommodation needs.

Cambridge Vaccination Data

Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 117,395

Fully Vaccinated Residents: 92,509

Residents with 1 Booster: 62,942

Residents with 2 Boosters: 32,699

Weekly DPH COVID-19 Vaccination Report

Total doses administered: 17,416,108

Total first booster doses administered: 3,469,377

Total second booster doses administered: 1,561,304

DPH Resources on COVID-19



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: 1,987,672

New Cases: 9,360

Total Deaths: 21,533

New PCR Tests: 82,854


Total Cases: 34,875

New Cases: 9

Total Deaths: 181

State interactive data dashboard:

Harvard COVID dashboard:


Recent Press

State Democratic Party calls on lawmakers to decriminalize overdose prevention centers

The Massachusetts Democratic State Committee announced last week that it has overwhelmingly endorsed legislation to legalize life-saving drug consumption care and grant municipalities the option of creating dedicated overdose prevention centers to combat the surge in fatal drug overdoses in Massachusetts. 

“No one has to look far to find someone they care about who has been impacted by substance use and addiction. We know that overdose prevention centers are an important tool in keeping people alive. This resolution is very much in alignment with the Democratic Party principles of valuing all life and meeting people where they are,” said state Rep. Marjorie Decker (D – Cambridge), Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health.

Learn more at


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:

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 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 for places serving those most affected by COVID-19 and for organizations that are engaging in racial justice work.


As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at



Copyright 2018 Authorized and Paid for by The Friends of Marjorie Decker © All Rights Reserved