July 21 Biweekly 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. Twice weekly, 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 twice-weekly 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 Federal Agency COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses page.  

Here is the July 21, 2020 roundup:  

Medical Response

  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Builds COVID-19 Forecasting System – The Center for Healthcare Delivery Science at Beth Israel Medical Center has designed and built a forecasting model used to inform care providers on coming clinical demands for hospitals. The system was developed using machine learning and epidemiology approaches to estimate how much capacity the hospital would need to devote to treating patients with COVID-19. The system will also allow the hospital to anticipate demand for valuable personal protective equipment. Read more here.   
  • Boston Scientists Scramble to Meet Anticipated Demand for COVID-19 DrugMany pharmaceutical companies, including Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., have begun ramping up manufacturing capabilities in anticipation of a COVID-19 vaccine. This preparation is substantial, explained Rajeev Venkayya, the head of Takeda’s vaccines unit. “We have never in history had to contemplate immunizing close to 7 billion people,” Venkayya said. To get ahead of this demand, pharmaceutical companies are developing manufacturing infrastructure in tandem with clinical trials. Read more here.  

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • Seven Hills Foundation Activates COVID-19 Response Team Alongside PPE Delivery – The Seven Hills Foundation recently activated a COVID-19 response team to provide patients, clients, students, and staff with the most up-to-date information as possible. The formation of the task force follows the distribution of just under 350,000 N95 masks to 125 health and human services organizations throughout Massachusetts. Read more here.  
  • Citizens Bank Tops List of PPP Lenders in Rhode Island – Citizens Bank led the field in the distribution of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans in Rhode Island.  Based on the analysis of data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Providence-headquartered bank lent more than double the amount of PPP loans to Rhode Island businesses as the next most active lender in the state. Read more here.  

Community Response

  • MIT Robot Disinfects Greater Boston Food Bank – The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) collaborated with Ava Robotics and the Greater Boston Food Bank to design a new system to disinfect surfaces and neutralize airborne contaminants. The system uses a UV-C light fixture to kill the virus, however, the light is not safe for human interaction. Fortunately, the new robot is completely autonomous and can be used for the disinfection of restaurants, factories, and supermarkets. Given the stress that food banks are under to reduce food insecurity, the robot could be a helpful tool to keep essential workers safe. Read more here.  
  • Webster Among First Banks Nationwide to Offer Financial Program for ‘Frontline Heroes’Webster Bank became one of the first banks nationwide to offer a special financing program for essential healthcare professionals and first responders. The Frontline Heroes program offers a number of different benefits, ranging from free checking withdrawals to eliminating account maintenance fees. The program comes in addition to Webster Banks’s $100,000 donation to support funds in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, and Wisconsin, home to Webster’s HSA Bank division. Read more 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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