COVID-19 Resources

CEOC staff are working remotely until further notice as a precautionary measure to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).  You can reach us by voicemail, email and by using our contact form. While our pantry is closed, pantry customers can sign up for food delivery by using our contact form.

Estamos trabajando a distancia para hacer nuestra parte a frenar la propagación del coronavirus (COVID-19) y salvaguardar el bienestar de nuestros clientes y personal.  Estamos pendiente del correo electrónico y de mensajes telefónicos y estamos para servirles con todo lo posible durante esos tiempos difíciles.  Si usted necesita comida, por favor llena la forma o llama a la oficina para ordenar un entrego semanal de comida.

During these difficult times, we understand that our CEOC community is worried about putting food on the table, paying rent and bills and staying healthy. You are not alone!  Please see a list of resources below:

A guide for seniors

Need food?

If you need food while our pantry is closed, fill out this form or call 617-349-9155.

Need money?

Anyone who lives or works in Cambridge can apply to the Cambridge Community Foundation Disaster Relief Grants sized $200-$1,000. Click here to apply. If you need translation or have trouble completing the application for any reason, we can help!

Need help or want to help?

Please consider the Cambridge Mutual Aid Network! Whether you can contribute or are in need of support yourself, this page will connect you to available resources.

Trouble paying rent?

If you are a Cambridge resident and live in CHA housing or have a Section 8 (Mobile or Project based) and are facing job loss or reduction of hours due to COVID-19, please contact your case-worker at CHA and/or Natalie Ribeiro at CEOC to let them know your income has been reduced.

City housing guide:

Unemployment Insurance Updates:

You can view a step-by-step presentation on how to file a new unemployment insurance claim here:

Spanish language town hall will be held at 9AM on Tuesday, and English language town halls will be held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9AM. You can sign up here:

If you filed an Unemployment Insurance claim and reached a busy signal when calling to certify your claim, you can certify it online, or call back within the next week to certify it. 

Public Health Information about the virus (From Atrius Health):

In our on-going efforts to keep you updated on the evolving information we know about COVID-19, below please find a few questions and answers from Dr. David Yassa, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Atrius Health.    

#1 What is COVID-19?  

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person and has spread worldwide over the past few months. Although there are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses, COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

#2 How is COVID-19 spread?

Based on our best science to date, it is believed that COVID-19 is spread through respiratory secretions, namely droplets that come from a cough or a sneeze. Since the virus can live in droplets that land on a table, phone, or railing, we can catch this virus by touching our mouth, nose, or eyes after coming in contact with these droplets. This is why it is really important to wash our hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. 

Social distancing is in the news right now, and it means keeping a safe distance from one another to try to minimize the chance that you will catch or spread COVID-19. In general, staying 6 feet apart is considered a safe distance. Because of this public health recommendation, many schools, businesses, and restaurants had already elected to or had been asked to close. Further, today Governor Baker ordered a Stay-At-Home advisory from March 24 through April 7th.

When we physically distance ourselves from other people and reduce the opportunities to spread the virus, we can hopefully slow the rate of new cases and help our healthcare system better keep up and care for those who get infected, a concept known as “flattening the curve.”

#3 What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and what happens if I get it?

Most people who develop COVID-19 develop an illness that may be very similar to the flu with fever, cough, and shortness of breath. With rest and supportive care at home (e.g., drinking plenty of fluids, acetaminophen or Tylenol as directed, etc.), most people recover within the course of a several days to 1-2 weeks. Stay in touch with your primary care provider’s office for more individually tailored supportive care advice.

Some people are at higher risk of experiencing more severe symptoms with a COVID-19 infection: people with lung or heart disease, smokers, people with weakened immune systems due to illness or medications, and more generally people over the age of 65. Since people with these conditions could develop more severe symptoms, it is important for them to self-monitor closely for the onset of flu-like symptoms and to contact their doctor’s office for the best way to get evaluated, even when your symptoms are mild.

#4 Who should get tested for COVID-19?

At this time, testing for COVID-19 is most helpful and of greatest benefit for patients experiencing symptoms of fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath where the results of the test would lead to real and significant consequences for patients and people they may work or live with. So it’s most important to test healthcare workers, first responders and people who may live in congregate settings like nursing homes.

Even for people at risk for developing more severe illness or people with known COVID-19 contacts, we do not recommend testing before the onset of symptoms.  

Again, if you do not have any of these symptoms, please stay at home as much as possible, practice social distancing to protect yourself and others around you, especially those in our communities at higher risk, and self-monitor for any of these symptoms.

Call your Atrius Health doctor’s office if you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, and we will evaluate you and can direct you from there.

#5 How is the COVID-19 test done?

The test for COVID-19 requires us to take a swab and insert it into your nose to get a sample of secretions from the back of your nose. The person taking your swab will be wearing protective equipment including a face shield, mask, gown, and gloves.   

#6 Can I get tested even if I do not have symptoms?

The testing that is available is not helpful for people who do not have symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, and testing is not currently recommended or offered to people without symptoms.

#7 Shouldn’t I get tested if I have had contact with someone who was tested as positive for COVID-19?

If someone with whom you had close contact is found to have COVID-19 disease, we recommend that you should do all that you can to isolate yourself in your home and attempt to remain out of close contact with other people in your home. Monitor yourself for symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath. If you do develop symptoms, please contact us either if you feel you are in the high risk group (outlined in #3, above) OR if you feel you are becoming really sick. We are here to help.

Again, testing is not recommended or is being offered to people who have been in contact with someone who has proven COVID but does not have symptoms. There is no benefit in testing people who have no symptoms for the reasons outlined above.

#8 What should I do if I have COVID-19?

The CDC has great information about what to do if you are sick and how to care for yourself at home. And please do not hesitate to contact your Atrius Health provider if you are worried about worsening symptoms.

#9 When do I know that I have recovered from COVID-19?

The CDC says you have recovered if it has been at least 7 days since your symptoms first appeared, if you have gone 3 days without a fever and without the use of fever-reducing medications, and if respiratory symptoms like cough and/or shortness of breath have improved.

#10 How do I talk to my children about COVID-19?

We understand that what is happening right now is very hard for adults to process, and it can be equally confusing and very scary for children, as well. The CDC has an entire page on their website dedicated to helping parents and guardians talk to children about COVID-19, from general principles to use when approaching and holding the conversation to child-friendly answers about COVID-19.

Thank you for your attention, and we hope we have been able to answer at least a few questions you have. Information about COVID-19 is evolving quickly, so please visit the COVID-19 page on our website which contains this information as well as more information from the CDC and our policies around providing care during this time. 

What is a “stay at home order?”

Cambridge stay at home orders in many languages:

How can I fight the spread of COVID-19?

  • Avoid close contact with others as much as possible
  • Wash your hands often and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects. These simple actions are among the most effective to avoid illness.
  • If you have a cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call your doctor’s office. Do not go to the emergency room.
  • If you have severe symptoms, call 911 for an ambulance.

-updated March 24, 2020 at 8pm