Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund: COVID‑19

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Public Health

In Cambridge, we must all take urgent action to minimize the health impacts of COVID-19.

Please do your part to:

  • 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.

Important Public Health Guidance

What is the risk in Cambridge?

The potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 remains high in Cambridge, the state, and the nation.

Massachusetts is among the states currently experiencing widespread community transmission of COVID-19. This means that residents are contracting the illness but the specific source of the infection is unknown.

In Cambridge and the Commonwealth, the number of residents infected with COVID-19 continues to rise due to increased community transmission and increased testing. Because there is widespread community transmission, the Cambridge Public Health Department believes that all residents should consider themselves at risk for infection. 

Some groups are at higher risk for exposure to the coronavirus than the general population, including:

  • People who have close contact with individuals with COVID-19.
  • People who work in health care settings, particularly those caring for COVID-19 patients.
  • People who have recently returned (in the past 14 days) from areas of the U.S. where there is ongoing community spread of the virus, which now includes Massachusetts.
  • People who have recently returned (in the past 14 days) from any of the "high risk" (level 3) countries identified by the CDC. See the CDC’s list Travelers Returning from High Risk Countries/

Last updated by the Cambridge Public Health Department on March 27, 2020.

What is Social Distancing and what can I do?

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing is an effective way to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in our community. By slowing the spread, we have a chance to protect family and friends at greater risk for serious illness and the health care workers who care for people with COVID-19. 

What You Can Do:

For social distancing to be effective, it is essential we all do our part. Changing our behavior is never easy. But we all start practicing social distancing—keeping a six-foot distance from people we don’t live with—we will slow the spread of COVID-19 in Cambridge.


The following social distancing tips are for people who are healthy:

  • Avoid crowds of any size.
  • Maintain a safe separation of at least six feet from others. 
  • Refrain from shaking hands, high fives, and hugs.
  • Cancel in-person social gatherings. 
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick. 
  • Be sure to limit unnecessary travel. 
  • Consider going to the grocery store at off-peak hours.

If you are sick with COVID-19, please follow the CDC’s guidelines to protect the people you live with and the community. 

Misconceptions about Social Distancing: 

  • Social Distancing does not mean social isolation. You can also be social through social media, video chats/conferences, or by phone. You can also write letters or cards. Checking on friends, family, and neighbors is a great way to stay connected and be supportive of others who may be feeling alone or isolated.
  • Social distancing does not mean you cannot leave your home. When going outside, be sure to avoid crowds and maintain a safe separation of at least six feet from others. Walking outside alone or in a small group is a good way to exercise and prevent stress. 


Resources on Social Distancing:


What Cambridge Employers Can Do About Social Distancing:

On March 23, Governor Charlie Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory through April 7, asking all non-essential businesses to stop in-person operations. 


For workers who must be physically present in a workplace, such as health care and long-term care workers, public safety personnel, pharmacy, and supermarket employees, employers can help ensure their safety by:

  • Strongly discouraging older employees (age 60+) and those with chronic health conditions from coming into the workplace.
  • Following recommendations for social distancing such as keeping an approximate six foot distance from other people and recognizing that this will not be achievable in all settings. 
  • Ensuring that soap/sanitizers are available and that participants engage in proper handwashing and hand-hygiene practices.
  • Ensuring that cleaning and disinfection guidelines for COVID-19 are followed.

What should I do if I think I have symptoms of COVID-19?

If you or a family member develop symptoms of COVID-19—which include fever, sore throat, loss of sense of smell, cough, and/or shortness of breath—call your health care provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure. They will decide whether you need to be tested.

If you are not able to get tested, but believe you may have COVID-19, take the same precautions as if you tested positive.

Keep in mind that there is no treatment nor vaccine for COVID-19. People who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home.

If you have severe symptoms: Call 9-1-1 for an ambulance. The dispatcher should be alerted that you may have COVID-19 so that appropriate precautions can be taken. Severe symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Other symptoms that are severe or concerning

The information is from the Cambridge Public Health Department, current as of March 27, 2020.

View Public Health Resources

Case Count


*confirmed cases in Cambridge. Recent guidance categorizes all confirmed or presumptive positive cases as positive.


*confirmed death in Cambridge

View More Details

What's New?

  • (3/29/20) The Cambridge Public Health Department announced today, March 29, 2020, the first death of a city resident due to complications from COVID-19. View full media release.
  • (3/29/20) The Cambridge Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit has compiled a valuable resource guide and suggested safety plans for residents that may be isolated with an abusive partner or household member, be in fear and/or unable to access critical services for safety and support. Remember: help is available.
  • (3/29/20) Grant applications are available for a new Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. The program is designed to provide short-term working capital assistance to enable the viability of the business and retention of jobs during the severe interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • (3/27/20) To support ratepayers experiencing financial hardship, the City of Cambridge will suspend adding interest and late fees to the recently issued and future water and sewer bills that are due between March 30, 2020 - June 30, 2020.
  • (3/27/20) The City of Cambridge will temporarily absorb all credit card and ACH fees relating to online payments of Real Estate, Personal Property, Water Bills, etc., paid through our Invoice Cloud payment portal. This change is effective immediately and will remain until further notice.
  • (3/26/20) The City of Cambridge’s Temporary Emergency Construction Moratorium of March 18, 2020 will remain in effect while the City Solicitor in consultation with the City’s Commissioner of Public Health reviews the Governor’s March 25, 2020 announcement.

View More


Keep in Touch with the Latest City Information

  • Governor Baker issues "Stay at Home" Advisory for Two Weeks

    Governor Baker issues "Stay at Home" Advisory; orders all non-essential businesses to cease in person operation, directs the Department of Public Health to issue Stay at Home Advisory for two weeks

  • Statement from the City Manager on Temporary Emergency Shelter

    Throughout this Public Health crisis, I have worked closely with the City’s Public Health team to ensure that we are making the most informed decisions possible to protect the health and welfare of the entire Cambridge community. As part of that effort, we have been working to identify options to care for our homeless community or those unable to safely isolate or quarantine at their residence during this time.

  • Cambridge Announces First COVID-19 Death

    The Cambridge Public Health Department announced today, March 29, 2020, the first death of a city resident due to complications from COVID-19.

Food Assistance

The health and safety of the Cambridge community is our top priority during this unprecedented time. While many of the city’s food pantries have temporarily closed, we are working to ensure that Cambridge residents have access to food during the COVID-19 outbreak.

View Food Resources


In order to address the many concerns regarding housing and housing related needs, the Community Development Department, The Department of Human Services' Multi Service Center, and the City’s Housing Liaison are working together to stay up to date on all court related information and to respond to your questions and concerns.

View Housing Resources


Senior residents, particularly individuals with weakened respiratory and immune systems, may be at higher risk of serious illness upon contracting COVID-19. As a unified community, we can keep our most vulnerable residents safe and healthy, both physically and mentally, by adopting specific precautionary measures.

View Resources for Seniors 


We're working to communicate with the small business and artist communities on potential resources and relief related to Governor Baker’s statewide declaration that all bars and restaurants in Massachusetts will be shut down for on-premise consumption starting Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, April 6, although these establishments can continue to offer food for takeout or delivery. Retail stores can stay open as long as 25 people or fewer are present in them.

View Business Resources 

City Services

To help mitigate the effect of COVID-19, the City of Cambridge has closed all municipal buildings and has asked non-essential staff not to report to the office beginning Tuesday, March 17th until further notice. With City offices closed, critical City services continue but there are many changes to be aware of. There are also some City available for residents to access online while offices are closed.

View More City Services 


Cambridge Public Schools are closed until May 4th. All distance learning, bag breakfast and lunch information, and more are available on the schools' website.

View School Updates


The City of Cambridge has closed all Cambridge Public Library locations to the public until further notice. During this time, patrons are asked to keep any library materials that they currently have borrowed. Book drops at all locations will be closed. To minimize the impact of this closure on patrons, loan periods will be extended to April 15.

View Library Updates

Children & Families

Access information for parents and providers about childcare programs across the state.

View More Resources


Stay Informed

Learn About Social Distancing

Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund

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Page was last modified on 3/30/2020 3:14 PM
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