Friday, June 16 Public Health & Legislative Updates

Dear friends,

I write to you today with public health and legislative updates. 


Table of Contents

  • Cambridge Updates
  • Public Health Updates
  • Lifeguarding Opportunities This Summer
  • A Glimpse at the Past Week
  • Mental Health Services and Resources


Cambridge Updates

Community Events and Traffic Impacts in Cambridge This Weekend

There are many community celebrations in Cambridge this weekend. Enjoy these events and see below for how they will impact traffic. 

  • The Saints Constantine and Helen Annual Greek Festival will take place in Central Square from Friday, June 16, to Sunday, June 18.
    • Road closure: Magazine Street will close between Franklin Street and Auburn Street in front of the church. 
  • Cambridge Youth and Families Connect, a collaboration between Equity Roadmap and the Families of Color Coalition, will host a Juneteenth Community Cookout and Basketball Tournament at Sennott Park from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. Celtics Arena host Melisa Valdez hosts the event, which includes a basketball tournament starting at 10 a.m. and cookout beginning at 12:30 p.m. Expect more people than usual near Sennott Park, and plan travel accordingly. 
  • The Second Annual Juneteenth Celebration hosted by the Cambridge Families of Color Coalition, Paragon Society, and City of Cambridge will take place on Monday, June 19 at 10 a.m. The event will include a parade, DJ, snacks, kids entertainment, and more.
    • Expect traffic impacts and brief road closures along the parade route, which begins at Cambridge City Hall, proceeds down Pleasant Street to Western Avenue, and ends at Riverside Press Park.  

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 from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM in the CHA lobby at 119 Windsor Street. Cambridge businesses or organizations that would like free rapid tests to provide to customers can call the COVID-19 hotline at 617-933-0797 to request them.


Public Health Updates

FDA advisers back updated COVID shots for fall vaccinations

A panel of expert advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously this week to recommend that the COVID-19 vaccine be updated to target emerging subvariants of omicron. The committee specifically supported targeting the subvariant XBB.1.5, which accounts for about 40% of new infections in the U.S., with the goal of rolling out the newly formulated shots in anticipation of a possible uptick in cases this fall. Learn more at

DPH Testing for West Nile Virus and EEE Virus

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health began statewide mosquito testing for West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus on June 12th. In 2022, DPH identified eight human cases with one death and 95 West Nile virus-positive mosquito samples. Most human cases of WNV and EEE occur in the months of August and September. You can check your risk levels throughout the season by visiting

Upcoming Stakeholder Listening Sessions on Problem Gambling

The Department of Public Health’s Office of Problem Gambling Services (OPGS) is holding its 7th annual stakeholder virtual listening sessions to discuss modern day gambling and strategies, policies, and programs to reduce the harms caused by problem gambling. Share your thoughts or recommendations about the programs provided by the OPGS and register for the listening sessions held on June 20 and June 21.

End of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

As a reminder, the COVID-19 public health emergency has ended. That means: 

  • Healthcare facilities can set their own mask policies
  • Private insurers aren’t required to provide free rapid tests
  • Vaccines & treatments are still covered by insurance in MA

Learn more at

MassHealth Redetermination Underway

The MassHealth eligibility redetermination process began on April 1. Over the upcoming year, MassHealth will renew the membership of all 2.3 million members. Visit or call (800)-841-2900 to learn more about this process. 


Lifeguarding Opportunities This Summer

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) needs certified lifeguards to work at our beautiful state beaches and pools this summer. Qualified applicants who are certified can receive up to $1,000 in bonuses if they commit to staying through September 4. Plus, this year the Healey-Driscoll Administration raised the pay to between $22-$27 per hour, depending on position and related credentials.

To be considered for a DCR lifeguard position, applicants must be at least 16 years of age by the date of hire, must complete lifeguard training, and must be certified in first aid and CPR. For more information or to apply, visit 


A Glimpse at the Past Week









I joined members of the Cambridge Police Department at a gun buyback event last weekend. Overall, 69 guns were turned in, including BB guns, pistols, and rifles. Thanks to the Police Department, Cambridge Public Health Department, the Middlesex Sheriff's Department, the Cambridge Peace Commission, and Many Helping Hands 365 -- particularly Lori Lander -- for partnering on this important yearly event.

















I joined family, friends, and neighbors at the 27th Annual Galluccio Associates Youth Sports Recognition Breakfast.

























The Cambridge Health Alliance Foundation honored former Health and Human Services Secretary -- and Cambridge resident -- Marylou Sudders with the Art of Healing Annual Award. CEO Dr. Assaad Sayah and I were also joined by Ellen Semonoff, Cambridge Health Alliance Board member and Assistant City Manager for the Department of Human Services.




















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.


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



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