Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Senate President Spilka: Important COVID-19 Updates

Important COVID Updates
COVID is still with us, but Massachusetts is prepared.
For many of us, COVID-19 continues to be a source of uncertainty. Should we mask or not? Is it safe to socialize? What can we expect in the weeks and months to come? I hope the resources in this newsletter will help you keep up to date with the latest COVID developments and make the best decisions for yourself, your families and your communities.

As of this month, data from across Massachusetts suggests that we are in the midst of a small surge in COVID cases. The predominance of cases are now concentrated among young adults. Fortunately, the surge has been significantly less deadly and resulted in fewer hospitalizations than the surge Massachusetts experienced at the start of 2022. However, the current surge has not peaked yet.

COVID-19 is transmitted through the air, so being outdoors or opening windows can reduce of the likelihood of spread, even in crowded settings.

Recently, supplemental budget legislation designed to continue our state's efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure robust preparation in the event of a future variant outbreak was passed by the Legislature and signed into law. Thanks to this bill, we can ensure continued no-cost availability of crucial services offered to residents during the pandemic, including testing, vaccinations, treatment, and public health staffing needs resulting from COVID-19.
As always, my office is available if you need assistance or wish to share your opinion. You can email me at karen.spilka@masenate.gov or call 617-722-1500.

Take care, and be well!

Warm regards,
Am I eligible for a booster shot?
CDC recommends
The CDC recommends that everyone ages five years and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series.

Those who are eligible for ONE BOOSTER after completing the COVID-19 vaccine primary series:

  • Children ages 5-12
  • Everyone ages 12 years and older

Those who are eligible for a SECOND BOOSTER four months after the first:

  • Adults ages 50 years and older
  • People ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised
  • People who got 2 doses (1 primary dose and 1 booster) of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine

Is one-way masking effective?
masks work best at decreasing the spread of viruses
Short answer: yes!

While masks work best at decreasing the spread of viruses when everyone is wearing one, wearing a well-fitting, high-quality mask worn correctly still decreases your own risk of catching COVID-19 even if no one else is wearing one.

You get the best protection from a N95 or KN95 mask that seals well on your face and remains in place. There should be no gaps around the nose, chin, or cheeks.

Read more on mask effectiveness:

COVID Resources
COVID Resources
Rapid Tests

Rapid tests play an important role in keeping community transmission low. They allow for sooner infection detection, decreased spread and earlier contact tracing.

As of May 17, all U.S. households are eligible to order an additional eight free at-home rapid tests, bringing the total number of such free tests made available to each household by the Biden administration to 16.

Additionally, all Massachusetts insurance companies and Medicare now will pay for eight rapid tests per person per month.
PCR Tests

If you've been exposed to COVID-19 but have no symptoms, scheduling a PCR test is a good option.


Free treatments for COVID-19 are available. They can help prevent hospitalization and reduce your chance for severe disease.

Treatment is available for people who are at increased risk of severe disease, test positive for COVID-19 and have any symptoms, including mild ones such as runny nose or cough. The sooner you start treatment, the better.


Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Legislature allocated $25 million for the state to purchase and distribute high-quality masks, with priority given to education and health care workers. High-quality masks are now available for free in some pharmacies.


The Legislature continues to provide financial support for COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster shots, so that these are available free to all residents, workers, and students in Massachusetts ages five years and up.


The state continues to monitor the development and spread of COVID-19 variants. You can stay prepared by keeping up with the data too!

Senate President Karen E. Spilka | Massachusetts State House, Room 332, Boston, MA 02133

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