April 21 Daily Round-Up: NEC Members Contribute to COVID-19 Crisis Response

As our region and our nation continue to grapple with the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, The New England Council is using our blog as a platform to highlight some of the incredible work our members have undertaken to respond to the outbreak.  Each day, we’ll post a round-up of updates on some of the initiatives underway among Council members throughout the region.  We are also sharing these updates via our social media, and encourage our members to share with us any information on their efforts so that we can be sure to include them in these daily round-ups.

You can find all the Council’s information and resources related to the crisis in the special COVID-19 section of our website.  This includes our COVID-19 Virtual Events Calendar, which provides information on upcoming COVID-19 Congressional town halls and webinars presented by NEC members, as well as our newly-released Federal Agency COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses page.

Here is today’s (April 21, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • Beth Israel Producing Testing Swabs to Combat Shortage – Faced with a dwindling supply of testing materials, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has begun producing their own testing swabs in collaboration with local academics and manufacturers. The new swabs are already being used to test potential COVID-19 patients and will begin production on a larger scale soon. Read more from WBUR.
  • Home Base’s Gen. Jack Hammond Tapped to Lead Boston Hope Medical Center – General Jack Hammond, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Red Sox Home Base Program has been chosen by Governor Charlie Baker (R-MA) to serve as co-medical and operations director at Boston Hope Medical Center. Gen. Hammond will draw on both his personal experience serving in the military and in his role at Home Base to work with state and local officials to coordinate care for the unsheltered and those in post-acute care. Read more in The Boston Globe and the press release.
  • Dartmouth College Researchers Developing Improved Test – Researchers at Dartmouth College are working to create a new, improved test for COVID-19. The lab has partnered with a California biotech company to make the test more reliable and quicker to produce results. The test awaits FDA approval as it is being compared to the test currently being used in the United States. Read more from The New Hampshire Business Review

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • Worcester State University Receives $484,000 Grant to Improve Remote Learning – To support its transition to remote learning, Worcester State University (WSU) has received over $484,000 in grants from a Boston venture philanthropy firm. The funds will be used to cover a variety of expenses, such as laptops and a university-wide texting system to remind students of upcoming deadlines. The measures are designed to especially help first-generation students, a demographic already more likely to drop out of school. The Worcester Business Journal has more.

Community Response

  • City of Providence Buys 34,000 Masks for Frontline Workers – The City of Providence has partnered with its firefighters union to purchase 34,000 N95 masks for first responders directly exposed to the virus. Masks, along with other protective equipment such as gloves, will be distributed to responders and other essential personnel who require them. Read more from WPRI.
  • UnitedHealth Announces $5 Million to Support Healthcare Workers UnitedHealth Group, as part of its initial $60 million commitment to combating the coronavirus pandemic, has announced a $5 million initiative to support the healthcare workforce. Specifically, the funds will be directed toward efforts to procure more personal protective equipment (PPE) and to provide mental health support to those working directly with COVID-19 patients. Read the press release here.

Stay tuned for more updates each day, and follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates on how Council members are contributing to the response to this global health crisis.

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