April 8 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 8, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • Southern Maine Community College Students Learn on Front Lines of Pandemic – Students studying respiratory therapy at Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) are gaining important and meaningful experience working alongside therapists in local hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. The students are performing breathing treatments and administering medication that will alleviate the strain on the state’s medical providers. The Bangor Daily News has more.
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital to Begin New Plasma-Based Therapy Clinical Trial – At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, researchers are turning to a promising potential treatment from a Chinese study for the novel coronavirus. The therapy, which utilizes plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, is entering clinical trials after the FDA gave the hospital a green light to test it. Boston 25 News
  • Boston University Scientists See Breakthrough in COVID-19 Research – The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) at Boston University has successfully utilized glowing antibodies to illuminate the virus that causes COVID-19 infections. Now that NEIDL has the ability to “see” the virus, the team can test its inventory of thousands of drugs to detect which are most effective at reducing or stopping the spread of infection. Read more in The Brink.
  • Endicott College Creates Protective Equipment Endicott College is now using its 3-D printing equipment, as well as its existing supplies, to create and donate protective equipment to healthcare workers. While the equipment is considered “homemade” and cannot be accepted by hospitals, the supplies produced at Endicott is being donated to non-front line workers such as oncology clinics and funeral home, freeing up the supply of professional, medical-grade equipment for front-line workers. More information here.
  • UMass Boston Labs Donate Protective Equipment – Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) School for the Environment are donating their unused personal protective equipment (PPE) to Boston hospitals. The school hopes this practice will spread to other labs whose research has been suspended. Read more here.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • UMaine Converts Planetarium into Supercomputer for Research –With its campus currently closed to students, the University of Maine (UMaine) has transformed its planetarium into a supercomputer to run visualization programs for researchers across the country. The data from the use of the planetarium’s conversion could be used to develop new diagnostic tests or even potential therapies. The Bangor Daily News
  • UPS Dedicates Facilities and Operations to Equipment Delivery – In partnership with FEMA, shipping company UPS has committed a 450,000 square-foot facility to the agency, along with 25 chartered flights, to expedite delivery of necessary medical and protective equipment to U.S. hospitals. The effort, named Project Airbridge, is expected to deliver over three million pounds of materials. GlobeNewswire has more.

Community Response

  • Easterseals Rehabilitation Services Transitions to Virtual Therapy – Easterseals Massachusetts is offering three virtual therapy sessions to patients who make a one-time donation of any amount. The sessions aim to assist children who are missing occupational or speech-language therapy due a switch to remote learning. Read more.
  • Boston Celtics Forward Pledges to Match $250,000 in Donations to Greater Boston Food Bank – Despite being sidelined by quarantine for the remainder of his season, forward Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics has committed to match up to $250,000 to support the Greater Boston Food Bank. Tatum, a Missouri native, has also partnered with the St. Louis Area Foodbank to contribute another $250,000. Boston.com reports.
  • UnitedHealth Group Provides $2 Billion in Financial Support to Healthcare Providers – UnitedHealth Group is accelerating almost $2 billion in financial support and payments to its care network. The funds will be distributed to healthcare systems in the group’s network, and builds upon the company’s earlier action to expand access to care and accreditation. 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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