Friday, January 20 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

  • Legislative Updates
  • State Updates
  • National Updates
  • Cambridge Updates
  • COVID-19 Testing Information
  • MA Vaccination Updates
  • DPH Resources on COVID-19
  • This Week’s Case Count
  • Mental Health Services and Resources
  • Where to Give


Legislative Updates:

Bills Filed for New Legislative Session

Today was the bill filing deadline for the 2023-2024 legislative session, although legislators may still submit late files. I have filed 83 bills addressing a range of issues including poverty, childcare, renewable energy, common-sense gun safety, maternal health, and children’s mental health. I will share more about them in future emails. A really special thank you to my entire staff, particularly my Chief of Staff Kathleen Hornby, who all pulled this together over the last few weeks and worked down to the wire today. I am looking forward to working with advocates and colleagues on the bills that I filed as well as hearing from constituents about other legislative proposals that you want to bring to my attention. 


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:

Public Health Helpline Supports Residents with COVID-19

To speak with someone, call the confidential COVID-19 Hotline for the public health departments of Cambridge, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop at 617-933-0797. The hotline is managed by the Cambridge Public Health Department. Learn more at

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: 17,451,245

Total first booster doses administered: 3,476,172

Total second booster doses administered: 1,578,981


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: 1,994,476 

New Cases: 6,804

Total Deaths: 21,658

New PCR Tests: 69,570


Total Cases: 34,975

New Cases: 23

Total Deaths: 181

State interactive data dashboard:

Harvard COVID dashboard:


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



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