June 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 (June 8, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • UMass Engineers Developing COVID-19 Exhalation Diagnostic Test – Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) College of Engineering are developing a new COVID-19 diagnostic test using patients’ breath. Similar to a breathalyzer, the device analyzes a patient’s breath—the most common method of transmission between hosts—to test more quickly for COVID-19 infection without invasive nasal swabs. Read more.
  • Takeda Beginning Clinical Trials on Vaccine CandidateTakeda Pharmaceutical announced it could begin clinical trials on its potential vaccine this summer, using antibodies from patients who have recovered after COVID-19 infection. The trial will include hundreds of patients and be conducted over months, with a goal to complete trials and regulatory approval processes by the end of this year. Reuters reports.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • IBM App Used to Screen Employees Returning to Work IBM has developed a new app that will enable employers to require employees entering physical workplaces to screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure before returning to work. After their employees conduct their own screening, employers will verify workers’ wellness before each shift. The app is being rolled out in phases across the country. Read more from TechWire.
  • Massachusetts Medical Society Releases Guidance for Medical Practices Reopening – The Massachusetts Medical Center (MMS) has released a document outlining recommendations and guidance for providers across the state. As practices in Massachusetts are allowed to resume activity, the publication offers policies and practices to keep staff and patients safe. Read more.

Community Response

  • Bar Harbor Bank & Trust Donating $11,000 to Relief Efforts in New EnglandBar Harbor Bank & Trust is donating the proceeds of its charitable giving program to support nonprofits in New England. The funds will be provided to ten nonprofits offering resources and support to areas hit hardest by the pandemic. The Mound Desert Islander reports.
  • Fitchburg State, MassDevelopment Deliver Over $62,000 to Downturn Fitchburg Businesses Fitchburg State University and MassDevelopment have partnered to provide more than $62,000 to businesses in the area facing financial strain. The partnership provides flexible emergency funding to small businesses forced to cease economic activity due to stay-at-home orders. The Sentinel & Enterprise has more.
  • Unitil Establishes $225,000 Customer Assistance & Recovery Effort – Energy company Unitil has established a Customer Assistance & Recovery Fund with a $225,000 initial donation. The fund aims to assist customers who have lost their jobs or are facing financial hardship; first responders; and organizations addressing food and housing insecurity and mental health. Read more from NGI.

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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