COVID-19 Resource Guide

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K-12 schools and licensed childcare programs can now opt in to a state program to receive enough at-home COVID tests to cover students and staff. In K-12 schools, students and staff also have the option to opt in; parents must sign permission forms for their children, and learn how to administer the test at home. These tests will allow students and staff with symptoms or who are close contacts to those diagnosed with COVID to test and get results quickly; if tests are negative, they may remain at school. Positive tests must still be reported to DESE.


Childcare providers can opt in to a similar program, which allows caregivers and children to take rapid tests. If negative, they can remain in care. Rapid tests will be free, and distribution will be through Neighborhood Villages. Programs can enroll at this link.

Good news for local cities and towns: the state has contracted with three COVID test manufacturers for municipalities and eligible entities to bulk order at-home rapid antigen test kits at state-negotiated prices. Our towns can take advantage of this program to stock up on tests for staff, seniors, schools, and more.

 

 

Vaccination

  • The latest information about the Covid-19 vaccine can be found here.

  • The Vax Record app is a new tool to access your COVID-19 digital vaccine card and vaccination history. Go to MyVaxRecords.Mass.Gov. Enter your name, date of birth, and cell phone number or email associated with your vaccine record. NOTE: if your email doesn’t work, try your cell phone, or vice versa. Create your own 4-digit PIN, you will receive a link to your vaccine record that will open upon re-entry of the PIN. Once you see your record, you can “Click to download COVID-19 SMART Health Card”, which will give you a QR code which you can save in your phone’s gallery.

  • The vaccine is being provided free-of-charge to all individuals (as they become eligible). Insurance companies are committed to not charging any out-of-pocket fees or co-payments related to Covid-19 vaccine administration.

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Get Tested/Health Care
 

  • Health Connector has a extended enrollment period for healthcare coverage through May 23rd for those who are uninsured.

  • People who are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms or are close contacts of a positive case should get tested. Learn more and find a testing site here.

  • Check Symptoms Online: Buoy Health Covid-19 Web App, which will help to screen them based on a series of questions and connect them to a health care provider via telehealth. It is available in English and En Español.

  • Information on the different types of Covid testing.

  • COVID-19 testing for symptomatic individuals and close contacts is usually covered by insurance and available at no cost to you. Additionally, many test sites in the Commonwealth test uninsured individuals for free. If you are uninsured, please call your local test site to confirm before making an appointment.

  • Here is the latest visitation guidance.

  • Family Hotline for loved ones in nursing and rest homes: 617-660-5399, 7 days a week.

  • Personal Care Attendant (PCA) services: Call 1-844-422-6277 to be connected to home health services in your region.

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Mental Health
 

  • Call2Talk is available through the 2-1-1 resource hotline.

  • Massachusetts Network of Care, a searchable directory of mental health services and over 5,000 organizations, is available here.

  • Resources for people in need can be found at https://findhelp.org/ and on this map developed by MEMA, MA VOAD, and other partners.

  • Contact Samaritans 24/7. Call or text the 24/7 helpline any time at 1-877-870-4673.

  • Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741

  • Visit the new Massachusetts Network of Care website to locate behavioral health resources in your area.

  • Contact SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline. The Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

  • Contact the Massachusetts Emergency Services Program/Mobile Crisis Intervention (ESP/MCI) - 1-877-382-1609 (read more about this program)

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College Students, Borrowers, Parents
 

  • The Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB) has joined a multi-state initiative to secure payment relief options for Massachusetts student loan borrowers and issued a Consumer Advisory with important information and resources for private student loan borrowers.

  • Student Aid Relief: an administrative forbearance and zero interest loan relief was implemented for certain federal loans from March 13, 2020 through September 30, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

Childcare

 

K-12 Education
 

 

  Domestic, Sexual Violence, Child Abuse
 

  • You are not forgotten and we are here to provide resources to support and keep you safe. Physical spaces are temporarily closed, but there are resources available remotely. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are still available at hospitals to collect forensics.

  • Trial courts can be reached during regular hours at 1-833-91COURT. Judges are available 24/7 to issue 209A restraining orders and 258E harassment orders.

  • The Safelink Hotline is a centralized number to call to talk to someone and receive services for sexual and domestic violence. Calls are confidential and available in many different languages to support survivors and their family. The hotline is available by calling 211 or toll free 1-877-785-2020. For people who are Deaf or HoH, call TTY 1-877-521-2601 or using a video relay service.

  • If you are not comfortable calling, you can instant message with a trained advocate at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, www.thehotline.orgwww.loveisrespect.org, or www.rainn.org.

  • If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.

  • Child abuse affects every community, whether you are aware of it or not. As adults, there are many things we can do to prevent child abuse, like actively acknowledging the signs of child abuse and knowing when and where to report instances of abuse or neglect. Check out the MA Children’s Alliance Resource Page to learn more.

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Community Resources

  • Food and other resources for people in need can be found at www.mass.gov/findfoodhelp and https://findhelp.org/.

  • For Covid housing and emergency needs you can reach out to Community Teamwork, Inc. (CTI) between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm at their general hotline 978-654-5607 or by emailing them at CovidResponseCTI@commteam.org. Click here to check CTI’s website for updates.

  • Elders, Adults with Disabilities, and Caregivers can reach out to Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley at 1-800-892-0890, emailing ageinfostaff@ESMV.org or visiting their website.
    Families and Children in need of support can reach out to Family Services of the Merrimack Valley at 978-327-6600 for general support. Their Emergency Mental Health Helpline is 978-327-6607 (English) or 978-327-6679 (Español). More info at www.fsmv.org.

  • State Attorney General Healey’s Office (AGO) has resources here. You can find information about protecting yourself from scams and fraud, division hotline numbers, and more.

  • Eviction Know Your Rights Flyer 

  • Information for Landlords on Emergency Housing Assistance

  • The COVID-19 Command Center and MEMA have isolation and recovery sites in Everett, Taunton, and Pittsfield with capacity for around 351 individuals. More information, including clinical and financial eligibility, can be found here. Providers or individuals can access these sites by calling (617) 367-5150 between the hours of 7 am and 7 pm.

  • Nursing Home Family Resource Line: families and community members who have questions about the care their loved one is receiving during the pandemic should call 617-660-5399

  • Massachusetts Network of Care, a searchable behavioral health directory of mental health services and over 5,000 organizations, is available here.

 

Guidance for Drivers
 

  • For the most up-to-date information, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/rmv-covid-19-information.

  • AAA Northeast reopened select branch offices in Massachusetts, while following strict distancing procedures and CDC guidelines for the protection and benefit of employees and AAA members. Members should visit aaa.com/branches and enter their zip code to find the nearest open office.  Everyone will be required to wear a face covering to enter and conduct business at AAA branch offices and will be asked to physically distance. RMV services will be available by appointment only to members who complete an online reservation ahead of time.

  • The RMV is cautioning customers to use only mass.gov/rmv when they are trying to renew a license or registration or process any business transactions online.  Customers may inadvertently come across unofficial third-party websites or “mimic sites” that advertise similar services but have no affiliation with the RMV.

 

Legislative Update
 

As we continue to adapt to address and support the Governor’s actions, the House has successfully passed important bills such as:

 

Scam/Fraud Alerts
 

Some individuals and businesses may try to take advantage of uncertainty during the pandemic.

Criminal enterprises using stolen personal information from earlier national data breaches have been attempting to file fraudulent unemployment claims through the DUA system. This is part of a national unemployment fraud scheme. We have heard from several constituents about potential fraud relating to unemployment benefits. If you have received notification that you've been approved for benefits that you never applied for, please report it right away. Click here for more information and to report DUA fraud online.

National Grids scam: Scammers impersonating National Grid tell customers that unless payment is made within 30 minutes, their power will be shut off. The customer is then directed to call “the direct billing department to make a payment and avoid power disconnection.” The scammers use sophisticated phone systems that display National Grid on the customer’s caller ID.  Additionally, the phone number customers are instructed to call closely resembles the company’s recorded messaging and phone prompt directions. These elements make it difficult to differentiate an actual National Grid call from an imposter’s call. When in doubt, customers should hang up and call the National Grid customer service number on their bill.

State Attorney General Healey’s Office (AGO) has resources here. You can find more information about protecting yourself from scams and fraud, additional resources, and AGO division hotline numbers.

 

Self-Care
 

  • Do activities to reduce stress & cope with fear of Covid-19, like physical and mindfulness exercises, planting a garden, cooking, connecting with your friends and family on the phone or video chat, reading a book, and getting plenty of sleep.

  • Here are some resources for maintaining emotional health & well-being.
     

  • Essex Heritage’s Heritage at Home Initiative: Essex Heritage is rolling out a new initiative, "Heritage At Home", which provides the community with an online database of internet resources as well as natural sites around the county people can visit (when appropriate). You can check it out at www.heritageathome.org.
     

  • One way to stay connected virtually to our local communities is to watch locally-filmed movies and television series. Here is a list of 50 films and episodic series shot in Massachusetts, in just the last 5 years, that are available now to stream on popular video on demand services.