April 6 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 6, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Develops Prototype Testing Swabs – Confronting a shortage of testing swabs, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is leading efforts to mass-produce swabs. After only 15 days of research with both private and public partners, BIDMC expects to produce 10,000 swabs each day beginning next week week, eventually ramping up to 1 million daily—likely enough to supply all of America and part of Europe. Read more in The Boston Business Journal.
  • MIT Researchers Create Equipment Decontamination Resources– To provide advice on best practices for decontaminating and reusing protective equipment used by healthcare providers, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) entered a consortium to create an online resource page. The site aims to help providers with limited time and resources make informed decisions on how to best use existing supplies. More from MIT News

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • Boston University Provides Online Learning Resources for Deaf ChildrenBoston University (BU) has created a new resource—the Deaf Education Library—for deaf children to access courses, curriculum, and books in American Sign Language while they learn at home. In providing this new tool, BU noted that deaf children can find themselves in “double seclusion” as they navigate both the transition to remote learning and being sequestered with people who may struggles to communicate with them. BU Today has more.
  • Verizon Increases Access to Internet Resources, Employee Pay – To facilitate as smooth a transition as possible to remote work and learning, Verizon is offering access to learning tools and news channels at no additional cost. The network provider has also expanded its Pay It Forward Live gaming campaign to support small businesses affected by the outbreak, and has committed to increasing the pay for its essential employees. Read more.
  • Lowe’s Takes Steps to Protect Employees – To best comply with social distancing protocols, Lowe’s is working to ensure that its essential employees are protected during the pandemic. Lowe’s announced measures to restrict the number of customers in locations and has expanded remote purchasing offerings. The more stringent guidance come after Lowe’s $170 million commitment to relief efforts. Read more in The Charlotte Business Journal

Community Response

  • City of Boston Announces $2 Million Small Business Relief Fund – Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced a relief fund to support small businesses directly affected by closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund—with contributions from city, private, and federal sources—will target those businesses that do not qualify for federal relief or unemployment benefits. The Boston Business Journal has more.
  • Northeastern University to Provide Employment and Educational Opportunities for Third-Party Employees Northeastern University will provide educational assistance and temporary employment opportunities for campus workers who employed by third-party vendors, such as those working in dining and parking services—. Utilizing its existing network of employers usually used for its co-op program, the university will provide language, educational, and career support to address the immediate needs of these workers. Read more from News@Northeastern
  • Samuel Adams Offers $1,000 Payments to Out-of-Work Food Industry Employees – After establishing its Restaurant Strong Fund to raise money for workers in food service affected by revenue losses, Samuel Adams (part of Boston Beer Company) has expanded the fund’s operations to 19 additional states and is now offering a $1,000 grant to workers who have suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic. CBS Boston has more.

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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