January 14, 2022
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Happy New Year! I hope you were able to ring in the new year safely with family and friends. Below you will find important information about a deadline for the health connector, as well as my office's first public health update of 2022 regarding the state's capacity for testing amidst a surge in COVID-19 cases and new CDC recommendations for quarantine after COVID-19 exposure. Information on a new testing location in the Town of Hingham is also included in this newsletter.

As always, we will continue to keep you apprised of available resources and trusted sources of information regarding the public health crisis. Please let us know if we can be of assistance.

Very truly yours, Joan
January 23, 2022 Open Enrollment Deadline for Health Connector Approaches
The deadline to select and pay for health insurance coverage through the Health Connector for coverage beginning February 1st, is January 23, 2022. The Health Connector provides affordable commercial health insurance to more than 260,000 state residents. All Health Connector plans cover essential health benefits and include state and federal consumer protections, such the inability to be charged higher premiums for pre-existing conditions.

Individuals can visit https://www.mahealthconnector.org/ to apply for coverage.
State Secures Contract for 26 Million Rapid Antigen Tests
To increase testing capacity in the Commonwealth, the Administration recently placed an order with iHealth to supply the state with 26 million rapid antigen tests over the next 3 months. The tests will be prioritized to support K-12 schools and childcare settings. Shipments of tests will be made on a rolling basis in the Commonwealth.

To read more, you can view the Governor's press release here. To find information on COVID-19 testing in Massachusetts, please visit https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-testing.
CDC Updates and Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Public
On December 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the shortening of the recommended time for isolation for people with COVID-19 from 10 days to 5 days, IF asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others.

The CDC also updated the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19. For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days. Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure. Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure; but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure.  For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.

Isolation relates to behavior after a confirmed infection. Isolation for 5 days followed by wearing a well-fitting mask will minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others. Quarantine refers to the time following exposure to the virus or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19.

Both updates come as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the U.S. and reflects the current science on when and for how long a person is maximally infectious.

Although the CDC's new recommendation for a shortened quarantine period does not include a verification of a negative test, the Department of Public Health issued a public health advisory earlier this week advising residents on when to seek tests for COVID-19. The guidance advises all residents to seek COVID-19 tests when exhibiting COVID symptoms, or five days following a known close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID pursuant to MA DPH quarantine and isolation protocols, updated as of December 29 in accordance with the new CDC guidance.

Find the public health advisory issued by the DPH here.
Find a Test, Get a Booster in the 3rd Plymouth District

This week, Hingham opened a temporary COVID-19 testing site for residents and employees from Hingham, Cohasset, Hull, and Scituate.
  • Location: 335 Lincoln Street (Enter from Shipyard Drive off of 3A, near Fresh Market). This will be a drive-up site, and those receiving a test will not need to exit their vehicle.
  • Dates/Times: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursday & Saturdays from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
  • Who: Residents and employees from Hingham, Cohasset, Hull and Scituate will have priority appointment access, between the hours of 7:00 AM and 11:00 AM. 
  • Cost: The cost of a PCR test will be billed directly to the person’s insurance provider, while Antigen Rapid Tests will cost $149, and Antibody Tests will cost $75. For information on the different types of COVID-19 tests please see Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions 
  • Appointments: Register Online for an appointment. No tests will be administered without an appointment.
  • Questions: If you have a question about the testing site or appointments, please contact CovidClinic.org using their online chat or FAQs, or call 877-219-8378.

Additional test locations can be found at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/find-a-covid-19-test.

Getting a Booster

If you and/or your child are eligible, here are the steps to find a convenient location to get a COVID-19 booster:

  1. Visit the VaxFinder tool at vaxfinder.mass.gov for a full list of locations. Residents are able to narrow results to search for locations that are offering boosters, with appointments available now for booking. Many locations are booking appointments out weeks in advance.
  2. For individuals who are unable to use VaxFinder, or have difficulty accessing the internet, the COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line (Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 9 AM-2 PM) is available by calling 2-1-1 and following the prompts for assistance. The COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line is available in English and Spanish. Translators are available in nearly 100 other languages.
  3. Parents who prefer to have their adolescent vaccinated by a primary care provider should call their provider’s office directly.

Information on any upcoming vaccination clinics can also be found on each town's website:

Vaccines are widely available in Massachusetts. Getting vaccinated is the most important thing people can do to protect themselves, their families, and the community.

The COVID-19 vaccine can be given at the same time as the annual flu shot. Remember to ask your health care provider or pharmacist for both vaccines.

The COVID-19 booster is safe, effective, and free. People do not need an ID or health insurance to get a booster shot and do not need to show a vaccine card when getting a booster. Additional information on the COVID-19 booster, including FAQs, can be found at mass.gov/COVID19booster.
Information on the Omicron and Delta Variants
Variants, including Delta and Omicron, are spreading rapidly across the globe and continuing to fuel new outbreaks in the U.S., mainly among the unvaccinated.

For more information on the omicron variant, the delta variant, and other variants of COVID-19, visit the CDC's website here.
Important Links and Resources

  • Finding healthy foods tool

  • MyVaxRecords.Mass.Gov is a tool that allows residents to access their COVID-19 digital vaccine card and vaccination history

  • HandholdMA.org website for parents of school-aged children in Massachusetts concerned about their child's mental health.

  • Massachusetts residents can seek COVID-19 testing through the Stop the Spread Initiative which provides free testing in high-priority locations.

  • DESE's report on the number of positive COVID-19 cases in schools.

  • SafeLink 24/7 Crisis Hotline for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: 877-785-2020.

Stay Informed
Visit your town websites to learn the most recent information, local services, and guidance from our municipal officials.

State Resources

Federal Resources
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