Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

A guest post by Ally Dowds, a Health & Human Services Research Specialist at the Boston Public Library.

Last Updated January 25, 2022. Please see this Research Guide instead. Due to the rapidly changing status of the COVID-19 coronavirus, parts of this post may be out of date. For the latest information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control’s coronavirus page. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health's coronavirus page and the Boston Public Health Commission's coronavirus page will be kept up-to-date and will include location-specific information you may need to know. The City of Boston press releases regarding COVID-19 are also available. 

The BPL has separate posts on COVID-19 vaccine resources and how to evaluate information in the news and social media about the virus.  

We have put together a list of resources below from reputable organizations that can provide you with up-to-date information.

Helplines:

  • Sign up for text message alerts: Send COVIDMA to 888-777/Envíe COVIDMAESP al 888-777
  • Call 2-1-1 or use live chat for non-emergency questions and help
  • Nursing Home Family Resource Line/617-660-5399, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 7 days a week.

Meal Sites:


Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019. Patients with COVID-19 have experienced mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms can include: Fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. For more information: www.cdc.gov/COVID19-symptoms

Reopening Phases and Plan in Massachusetts

Starting on January 15, 2022, individuals will be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to enter certain indoor spaces in Boston. People working in those locations will also be required to have received their vaccines. Locations include:

Learn about the new B Together policy.

COVID-19 Testing in Massachusetts

Get tested if you have COVID-like symptoms, have traveled or been in large gatherings, are at high risk for complications from COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

COVIDtests.gov

Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days.

What is COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, causes respiratory illness in people. The virus was first reported from Wuhan, China, on December 31, 2019, and was declared a global health pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. Click on the organizational links below for information on symptoms, testing information, prevention and coping methods, and the most recent updates on state and national statistics and response.

Websites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)阻止病毒传播 帮助预防呼吸道病毒如 COVID-19 的传播. 避免与患病的人近距离接触。 咳嗽和打喷嚏时,用纸巾遮住 口鼻,然后将纸巾 扔进封闭的垃圾箱。 避免触碰自己的眼睛、鼻子和嘴巴。 对频繁接触的物体和表面 进行清洁和消毒。 生病时请留在家中, 除非要接受医疗救治。 经常用肥皂和水洗手, 每次至少 20 秒钟。 详细信息请参见:www.cdc.gov/COVID19-ch

The CDC is a federal public health institute of the United States. It offers current information about:

The CDC has frequent updates on new cases in the United States, risk assessments by country, and information for travel and travelers. Helpful sections include posters on how to prevent the spread of the virus within your community and a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page answering all of your questions.

The World Health Organization (WHO)

The WHO provides:

It also features myth buster graphics such as the one below to stop the spread of misinformation, that put people and their communities at greater risk.

Is it safe to receive a letter or package from China? Yes, it is safe. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus. From previous analysis, we know coronavriuses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.

Johns Hopkins University of MedicineSiga estos sencillos pasos para ayudar a prevenir la propagación de infecciones.  Lavase las manos con frecuencia con agua y jabón durante al menos 20 segundos.  Quedase en casa cuando está enfermo.  Cubra su boca cuando tenga tos o si estornuda  Limpie y desinfecte objetos y super cies que se tocan con frecuencia. COVID-19 y la gripe se propagan cuando una persona infectada tose o estornuda. Evite la propagación de estas y otras enfermedades respiratorias lavándose las manos, cubriéndose cuando tenga una tos o si estornuda, quédese en casa cuando esté enfermo, y limpie objetos y super cies que son tocados frecuentemente. Para más información, visite www.bphc.org/az

Johns Hopkins experts in global public health, infectious disease, and emergency preparedness have been directly involved in the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about:

Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH)

For the latest on monitoring cases in Massachusetts, the DPH has a section on quarantine and monitoring. This state government website also includes:

Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC)

BPHC is in daily communication with the CDC, Massachusetts DPH, City departments, and community partners. Its website provides:Hands that look clean can still have icky germs! Wash your Hands! Steps: 1. Wet 2. Get Soap 3. Scrub 4. Rinse 5. Dry

For more information, call the Mayor's Healthline at 617-534-5050 or Toll-Free: 1-800-847-0710

Vital Village

The Vital Village Learning Community is led by a group of healthcare practitioners from Boston Medical Center, as well as data analysts and researchers from Boston University. Its interactive COVID-19 Resource Map highlights related resources in Boston, such as meal sites and food pantries, specialty grocery stores, COVID-19 testing sites, diaper and hygiene kits, and WIC approved stores. This map is just one example of this organization's many resources created by its partners and community members.

Children, Youth & Families

Please find FAQs about pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and caring for young children by clicking on this link. The CDC also provides guides for how to get your household ready to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as well as posters on handwashing for children and teens.

Talking to Your Kids about COVID-19

Need help talking to your kids about COVID-19? Staff at the National Public Radio used interviews from various public health and social work experts to create a comic about what kids may want to know. You can see a snippet below:

It's a word you might have heard at school or online or on TV. Sniff Sniff AGHHHH! What? He might have the coronavirus!!! OMG! OMG! OMG! Wait...What is that?

Massachusetts Coalition for LGBTQ Youth

The Massachusetts Coalition for LGBTQ Youth has a comprehensive list of resources that includes frequently updated information from partners such as BAGLY, Boston GLASS, and Fenway Health. The resources for LGBTQIA+ Youth during COVID-19 include food and meal sites, mental health & support, virtual chat spaces, financial relief, housing, and healthcare access and information.

Mental Health

The terms outbreak, epidemic, global health emergency, and quarantine often can be trigger words for many people creating anxiety, depression, fear, and distrust.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created a Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks fact sheet that describes common signs of stress, how to recognize when to get help, and advice for coping.

SAMHSA also provides:

The CDC also includes guidance for how to manage stress, anxiety, and fear, opens a new window during the COVID-19 outbreak. It offers:

  • Tips for coping
  • Information for parents on how to help children and teens feel supported
  • Advice for responders to reduce secondary traumatic stress (STS) reactions
  • Guidance for people living in or being released from quarantine.

The Massachusetts chapter for the National Alliance on Mental Illness includes a resource list of online and call-in options for peer, family, and clinical support for mental health and substance use. 

Beware of scams!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General has a dedicated page listing potential scams and fraud schemes related to COVID-19. Improve your cyber security by reading the WHO’s information and tips.

If you have questions, look for answers at one of these resources, beware of scams, and wash your hands (for at least 20 seconds)!

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Boston Public Library