The Arnold Arboretum's traditional Lilac Sunday for Mother's Day has been cancelled again due to the pandemic. It’s almost lilac season at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Due to the pandemic and in support of public health, the Arboretum will not hold any public programming or Lilac Sunday events this Mother’s Day. However, the lilacs will still put on a spectacular show as a diversity of species and cultivated varieties begin and continue to bloom over the next several weeks. Visitors are encouraged to come explore spring flowering at the Arboretum anytime their schedule permits this month.
Jamaica Plain's Community Servings, a nonprofit provider of medically tailored meals and nutrition services to individuals and families in Massachusetts experiencing critical and chronic illnesses, recently announced another expansion of its meal delivery program with the launch of a targeted COVID-19 meals program to support individuals and their families dealing with food insecurity during the global pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, the number of clients the agency serves weekly has increased by 56 percent, with capacity expanding to meet the need. To help identify and enroll participants in the three-month program, Community Servings is partnering with Massachusetts-based health care providers who can refer individuals that have recently tested positive for COVID-19, as well as those presumed positive or at high risk. “Expanding our medically tailored meal delivery to help feed people impacted by COVID-19 is possible thanks to the generous philanthropic support that we have received over the past year,” said David B. Waters, CEO of Community Servings. “This program, which enables Community Servings to advance its social and health equity vision, is a means for many of our neighbors in need to receive healthy meals tailored by our registered dietitians and cooked with care in our kitchen while safely recovering at home.”
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Community Servings has prepared and delivered nearly 650,000 medically tailored meals to more than 2,000 people.
Back in December, the Canary Square restaurant sadly announced it was closing temporarily after getting hit by the effects of the pandemic. But after being closed for 110 days the business has now reopened. "With the decline in infection numbers in MA and a steady rollout of the vaccine made us feel comfortable to begin the long process of restarting the 'heart' of the restaurant," said owner Michael Moxley to Jamaica Plain News. "Assembling a team will take some time as well so we fired everything back up and we are gonna cautiously crawl out of the gate. We are happy to be back.
106 and counting. That's how many citizens, so far, have signed on as cosponsors to the Vaccine Equity Act after state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz implored people to do so. Chang-Díaz (D-2nd Suffolk) is a lead sponsor of the bill with Sen. Becca Rausch. People of color account for 51 percent of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, but only 15 percent of those who’ve received vaccines to-date, according to statistics cited by Chang-Diaz. The bill would do the following things:
Require the governor to appoint a vaccine equity director whose sole focus is addressing vaccination disparities rooted in racism, government mistrust, and disparate access to information and resources
Require a robust outreach and communications campaign, both via mass media and direct grassroots tactics (like door-to-door canvassing), aimed at hardest-hit communities
Create a mobile vaccination program for communities with highest COVID rates
Expand Stop the Spread sites to all Gateway Cities
Require transparency about vaccine distribution and implementation plans, including tracking the 20 percent additional doses committed to most-vulnerable communities, the number of unused doses, and key demographic data on vaccinations
The coalition petition also asked Governor Charlie Baker to immediately direct $10 million to trusted community organizations for outreach and engagement in communities of color.
Numerous Boston elected officials including Suffolk County's District Attorney and Sheriff teamed up together for a Mass.gov encouraging residents to receive the Coronavirus vaccine. Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins, District Attorney Rachael Rollins, At-Large Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, Boston City Council President Kim Janey, and State Rep. Nika Elugardo (D-15th Suffolk), are among numerous elected official of color encouraging Black, Latinx, and people older than 65 years old. Tompkins office produced the video. "When it's my turn, I will do it," says State Rep. Russell Holmes (D-6th Suffolk). "As soon as I can, I will do it," says Wu.
Congressman Stephen Lynch announced that he tested positive for COVID-19, even after receiving the second dose of a Coronavirus vaccine. Lynch announced he tested positive on Jan. 29, stating that an unnamed staff member had tested positive earlier in the week. Lynch had received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, had tested negative before attending President Joe Biden's inauguration. "While Mr. Lynch remains asymptomatic and feels fine, he will self-quarantine and will vote by proxy in Congress during the coming week,” said Molly Rose Tarpey, Communications Director for Rep. Lynch.
As people across the world clamor for Coronavirus vaccines, a careless circumstance led to nearly 2,000 vaccine doses being spoiled at the Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center. The plug of a freezer was loose after a contractor removed it while cleaning, reported NBCboston.com. The freezer in a secure location with an alarm system that was installed. Congressman Stephen Lynch visited the facility after hearing about the human error that led to the vaccine doses being compromised. His office shared an image of what the back of the freezer looked like before the error, and then after when it had been more secured.
All residents of the Sherrill House nursing home are on their way to being vaccinated, followed by all staff. "It has been an exciting two days here with our partner CVS Pharmacy for the first of two shots of the Pfizer vaccine," said Pattyanne Lyons, Director of Development, to Jamaica Plain News. Lyons said that 98 percent of residents, and approximately 55 percent of its staff were vaccinated in the first round, which started Jan. 5. There will be another round of vaccinations in February to offer it to the remaining staff and residents.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-7th MA) received her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, which came as a surprise to her. “Candidly, I did not expect I would be able to receive the vaccine this soon. I planned to receive the vaccine at a Community Health Center in my district later in 2021," said Pressley via press release. "Members of Congress received notice at the end of this week from the Attending Physician that doses would be made available to us as part of a ‘continuity of government plan,’ a measure put in place during national crises. After consulting with my family and my doctor, I decided that I would move forward with this opportunity to receive the vaccine."
The city announced numerous sites this week that are offering free, mobile COVID-19 testing available to anyone regardless of symptoms. Along with a site in Jamaica Plain, there are also mobile testing sites in Roxbury and Hyde Park. The city's mobile teams are in partnerships with Whittier Street Health Center, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and LCG Boston, which are located in Roxbury, Hyde Park and Jamaica Plain. In Jamaica Plain, testing is available in partnership with LCG through Wednesday, December 30 at the Anna Mae Cole Community Center, located at the Mildred Hailey Apartments at 24 Heath St. Testing is available to anyone at no cost and regardless of symptoms and insurance, and by walk-up only during the hours. Please contact the Mayor's Health Line at 617-534-5050 if you have questions.