April 24 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 24, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • UMass Memorial Receives $120,000 Grant for TelemedicineUMass Memorial Health Center has received a $120,000 grant to implement and expand telemedicine technology during the pandemic. The hospital aims to specifically prioritize spending on pediatric and emergency units as well as on remote primary response areas. The Worcester Business Journal has more.
  • MIT, Beth Israel Collaborate to 3-D Print Testing Materials – Faced with a shortage of essential testing materials such as swabs, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) entered into a partnership to 3-D print the necessary materials. Four prototypes have since been clinically validated, and the hospital expects to soon be able to produce more than a million swabs per day Boston.com has more.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital Using Robot to Reduce Staff Exposure – To reduce infections of COVID-19 among staff, Brigham and Women’s Hospital has begun using a four-legged robot (named Spot) from Boston Dynamics to allow providers to remotely video conference with patients in triage tents. The technology allows for reduced exposure between patients and providers and streamlines the testing process. Read more from Boston.com.
  • Vermont Teddy Bear Factory Producing Equipment for Essential Businesses and Healthcare Providers – With production halted, the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory has pivoted operations to produce face masks and other protective equipment for both healthcare providers and essential workers. In addition, the company will make the masks from recycled materials to remain sustainable. More from WCBS

Community Response

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Pledges $107,000 for Community Relief – Health insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBS) has announced more than $107,000 to support nonprofits in the Commonwealth, including the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, that provide relief and aid. The additional support comes after BCBS had previously announced over $1.1 million in other relief measures. Read more in the Lynn Journal.
  • UnitedHealth Group Donates $5 Million for Treatment DevelopmentUnitedHealth Group has pledged $5 million to support a federally-sponsored program that aims to develop a plasma treatment for the virus,. The effort is led by the Mayo Clinic and utilizes the plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients as a potential treatment. Read the release here.
  • Webster Bank Commits $100,000 to Support Efforts Webster Bank has donated $100,000 to United Way to support efforts to aid communities affected by the pandemic. The funds will be used to provide food, childcare, and other services to organizations strained by revenue losses. The Hartford Business Journal reports.

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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