Friday, May 12 Public Health & Legislative Updates

Dear friends,

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

I also want to thank Oluchi Oguchienti for her two-plus years of dedicated work in my office, first as Legislative Aide and then as Legislative Director. We wish her the best as she continues to help people in her next chapter.

Oluchi Oguchienti and Representative Decker

Table of Contents

  • Public Health Updates
  • Cambridge Updates
  • Mental Health Services and Resources
  • Scholarship Opportunity for Individuals in Long-Term Recovery


Public Health Updates

End of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

As a reminder, the COVID-19 public health emergency ended yesterday. 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

Massachusetts Funds Extra SNAP Payments

Due to federal action, extra COVID SNAP benefits ended on 3/2/2023. However, Massachusetts households will receive state-funded extra SNAP payments on April 7, May 2, and June 2, 2023, following Governor Healey’s signing of the Legislature’s supplemental budget that created an off-ramp from the extra federal COVID SNAP benefits. Visit to learn more. 

MassHealth Redetermination Underway

The MassHealth eligibility redetermination process began on April 1. Over the next 12 months, MassHealth will renew the membership of all 2.3 million members. Visit or call (800)-841-2900 to learn more about this process. 


Cambridge Updates

Two Remaining COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics

The Cambridge Public Health Department is hosting two additional Wednesday vaccine clinics this season (May 17 and June 7). For more information and to register, visit

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.


Scholarship Opportunity for Individuals in Long-Term Recovery

The Stephenie Jesi Scholarships for Individuals in Long-Term Recovery are in loving memory of Stephenie Jesi. On December 13, 2015, at the age of 33, Stephenie passed away after a long and courageous battle with substance use disorder (SUD). She was a participant in the Gloucester Angel Program (PAARI).

Stephenie was passionate about helping her friends who were experiencing the same barriers that she was, in fighting the disease of SUD. In honor of her selfless nature and spirit of giving, her family wants to keep her spirit alive by helping others who are struggling.

Stephanie's family will choose three deserving individuals who have been in long term recovery for 3 or more years to receive a $1,000 scholarship. In an effort to remove barriers to support recovery, these scholarships can be used for education, housing, transportation, childcare or debt relief. The scholarship recipients will be announced at PAARI's 8th Anniversary Party on June 6, 2023. Funds will be directly paid to the recipient’s needs. The selection committee includes PAARI's Executive Board, including Mrs. Cheryl Jesi-Marlow and Mr. Steve Jesi.

Nominees must:

  1. Be in long-term recovery for 3+ years.
  2. Be able to attend and share their personal story at PAARI's 8th Anniversary Party (either in-person in Boston, MA or virtually via Zoom).
  3. Be available to attend future PAARI anniversary parties to share an update on their recovery (either in-person in Boston, MA or virtually via Zoom).

Fill out this form to be considered or nominate another individual: Responses are due by May 20, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

If you have any questions, contact Isabella 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.


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



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