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COVID-19 Weekend Update + Resources 4/19/20

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This week, we mourn the passing of one of our own E-13 Boston Police Officers due to COVID-19 complications. Officer Jose Fontanez proudly served our local neighborhoods and our city for 29 years. Our hearts remain heavy and with his family, friends, colleagues, and all those who loved him.

To echo our Mayor, the best way we can honor our fallen officer and show our respect and gratitude for our first responders, healthcare workers and frontline staff who are putting their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, is to STAY HOME. I know it's really hard, and like me, you're probably feeling very stir crazy by now, but as the Governor reminded us going into the weekend, if we let up now, it will only result in greater harm. That includes tomorrow, Monday, April 20 -- please do not visit the Boston Marathon route or attempt to run the course on what would have been Marathon Monday. The Boston Marathon is postponed to September 14.

As my colleague Rep. Jon Santiago (D-9th Suffolk), a Boston Medical Center emergency department doctor who is working two 12 hour shifts at the Boston Convention Center field hospital this weekend, shared on Thursday after finishing a shift: we're right in the surge and things are going to get worse before they get better. Please continue to hunker down and hang in there.

If you're healthy and up to it, please consider donating blood. The need is urgent now.

Appointments are required and you can find the nearest drive here. Additionally, your local knowledge, suggestions of sites, and potential partners are crucial to meeting the needs of our neighbors who need blood and blood products. To schedule a new blood drive contact Bill Forsyth at 617-699-3808 or at email


Liz Malia

State Representative, 11th Suffolk

To read the Commonwealth’s Command Center Daily Updates:

How to Help Out

Upcoming Items of Interest

  • SMALL BUSINESS ZOOM: Join the Globe's Small Business Community for a virtual event with business reporter and Talking Points writer Jon Chesto. Chesto wants to hear about your business, how it's been affected by the current crisis, and what you're doing to keep it going. He'll come with a few questions that will fuel his future reporting on the region's economic outlook -- and if you have questions on that topic, he'll try to tackle those as well. (Monday, 10 AM, Register)

  • HEALTH DISPARITIES PANEL: Boston Medical Center's Dr. Thea James and Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center's Stan McLaren take part in a panel discussion hosted by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce about health disparities in communities of color and efforts to mitigate the effects on those communities from COVID-19. Michele Courton-Brown of Quality Interactions Inc. will also take part. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Register)

  • 1918 ELECTIONS DISCUSSION: Massachusetts Historical Society holds an online program titled "Voting During a Pandemic: The 1918 Elections in Massachusetts," looking at the primary and general elections held just after the peak of the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. Register (Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.)

Helpful Resources


  • ​If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms. They will help you decide whether testing is appropriate. If your clinician thinks you should be tested but they are unable to offer a test at their own health care facility, they will provide a referral and you can be tested at a test site near you (by appointment only). If you don't have a provider, call 211 or 311.

  • Mobile testing sites are operating to serve eligible public safety personnel, including police officers, firefighters, EMS and PSAP personnel, correction officers, mortuary service providers, grocery store workers, and state active duty National Guard personnel who perform critical public safety functions.

  • The Department of Public Health, in partnership with the Massachusetts National Guard, and the State Public Health Laboratory in conjunction with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard is operating a program for Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Residences and Rest Homes (Facilities) to allow for in-facility testing of residents and staff.

Food - comprehensive food resources list

  • ​During what would have been school vacation week (4/20-24), school meal deliveries will continue. *Locations and times are subject to change. Please check back to confirm information before you head to a meal pickup site or food pantry.

  • Extra Emergency SNAP Benefits and what you need to know.

  • Animal Food: The MSPCA is working hard to ensure people facing financial or medical struggles are able to continue feeding their pets. They’ve created a list of food pantries and organizations across MA that accept pet food donations (always contact pantry to make sure they have pet food in stock). Learn more about how to protect your pets and plan ahead.

Housing (CHAPA)

  • ​New: Metro Housing put RAFT & Section 8 applications online (as of 4/14/20)

  • RAFT: For households at risk of homelessness due to a housing crisis such as rent, mortgage, or utility arrears through Residential Assistance for Families in Transition, this application process is done completely electronically, and can be initiated by completing the pre-application online.

  • Section 8: Metro Housing recently made the application for the Housing Choice Voucher program available and submittable electronically.

Health Care (MA Legal Help)

  • ​If you have experienced a loss of wages due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be eligible for MassHealth or subsidized coverage through the Health Connector, which opened enrollment to all uninsured residents and is accepting applications through May 25. If you are under the age of 65 and do not require long term care, you can apply for MassHealth or the Health Connector online or call MassHealth’s Customer Service Center 800-841-2900 TTY: 800-497-4648.

  • MassHealth Limited is available on an emergency basis to all Massachusetts residents who do not qualify for public health insurance programs due to their immigration status, and will cover the costs of testing and treatment for COVID-19

  • The Commonwealth’s Health Safety Net program is also available to qualifying low-income MA residents no matter their immigration status, and will pay for testing and treatment for COVID-19 provided by hospitals and community health centers.​

Unemployment (Mass.Gov) - Have you lost your job or had hours reduced due to COVID-19?

  • Where to start: Sign up or tune in to a live DUA unemployment daily virtual town hall

  • Avoid common mistakes: ***read this FAQ BEFORE you apply***

  • Reaching the DUA: If you're a constituent having issues securing a successful application, please contact my office with the following information: Full Name, Address, Phone, Email, Last 4 SSN, Last Employer, File Date, Claimant ID, The Details, Your Ask

  • Expanded unemployment under the CARES Act (coming 4/30): new FAQ

  • Need help? filing an Unemployment Insurance claim online because you don't read English or don't have regular access to a computer? Use this form to provide basic contact information, and Greater Boston Legal Services will call you to provide assistance by phone.

  • Spanish Applicati