June 1 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 (June 1, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • Jackson Labs Increases Production of Mice, Test Capacity for Trials – The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) is ramping up production of mice to be used in the development of vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 in hundreds of labs worldwide. The Maine-based lab is also increasing its diagnostic testing capacity to supplement public health efforts across New England. MaineBiz has more.
  • Massachusetts Eye and Ear, MGH Collaborate for Novel Vaccine Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are partnering to develop a COVID-19 vaccine unlike other candidates currently in trials. Their Adeno-Associated Virus (AAVCOVID) vaccine program utilizes gene-therapy technology to develop the vaccine. The hospitals are also focusing on distribution should their vaccine prove effective. WCVB reports.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • UMaine Faculty, Students Partner with State to Project Pandemic’s Effects on Economy – A group of students and faculty from the University of Maine (UMaine) has begun working with the State Economist’s Office to forecast COVID-19’s impact on Maine’s economy. The partnership aims to produce a report with five models, each simulating varying levels of public and consumer activity. News Center Maine reports.
  • Delta Dental Providing Employee, Customer Credits – As dental practices begin to resume activity, Delta Dental of Massachusetts has rolled out a series of credits and offerings to customers and furloughed employees. Premiums for customers will be credited by 30 percent, and furloughed or laid-off employees will retain their free access to their dental plan through the rest of 2020. The company’s latest efforts follow an earlier $2 million donation to recovery efforts across Massachusetts. MassLive has more.
  • PwC Publishes Guidance on Auditor Responsibilities Amid Pandemic – A new report from PwC provides advice for businesses as they begin to reopen. The paper offers a comprehensive overview of how the pandemic has changed the role and responsibilities of independent auditors and provides guidance on how businesses should adapt their auditing procedures during a pandemic. Read more from Compliance Week.

Community Response

  • South Shore Health Raises More Than $150,000 for Hospice CareSouth Shore Health System hosted its annual walk—virtually for the first time in its history—to raise funds to support local hospice care facilities. Walk for Hospice raised more than $150,000 to aid physicians, social workers, and volunteers working in a variety of long-term group homes and hospitals. Read more in The Patriot Ledger.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Commits $600,000 to Food Relief Organizations Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA), in response to increasing food insecurity across the Commonwealth, has pledged almost $600,000 to 43 organizations providing meals and support to food-insecure families and individuals. Read 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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