March 17 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 will be 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’ll also be 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.

Here is today’s (March 17, 2020) roundup: 

Medical Response

  • Carney Hospital Becomes Nation’s First Dedicated Treatment Center – Carney Hospital in Dorchester, MA, —part of Steward Health Care—has been designated to solely treat patients who test positive for COVID-19. The first “Dedicated Care Center” in the country, the hospital’s first ward opened today with plans to open more regional centers for treatment. in the future. The Boston Business Journal has more.
  • Boston-Area Universities Team up to Combat VirusHarvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University—along with local medical centers, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and other research institutions—are partnering to foster collaboration on mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus. The consortium received a $115 million donation from a Chinese company at the center of China’s outbreak. The Boston Globe
  • Pharmaceutical Companies Donate to Advance TreatmentVertex Pharmaceuticals has donated $500,000 to Partners HealthCare, the largest health system in Massachusetts, to increase the state’s testing abilities. Biogen has similarly announced $10 million in donations to organizations in Massachusetts, Italy, and beyond—including Partners HealthCare. Read more in The Boston Business Journal.
  • Sanofi and Pfizer Working on Potential COVID-19 Vaccine and DrugsSanofi has initiated a clinical to test its drug Kevzara on treating fevers and oxygen deprivation in patients, and is utilizing its experience in addressing the SARS outbreak to develop a potential vaccine. Pfizer has similarly begun efforts to utilize antiviral therapies to develop a vaccine. Bloomberg and Pharmaceutical Technology

 Economic & Business Continuity Response

  • Internet Providers Respond to Pandemic by Suspending Fees and Data CapsAT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, along with other internet providers, have announced suspensions on their internet data capping policies. The announcement comes after the companies signed a new telecom industry measure called the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, a document designed to promote connectivity and ensure users have continuous access to internet. Read more in The Verge.
  • Energy Companies Commit to End Service Shutoffs During PandemicEversource and National Grid have both committed to cease shutoffs of electricity and gas for customers with outstanding bills. In addition to ending shutoffs, the companies are suspending all collections-related activities and limiting site visits. MassLive and The Eagle Tribune have more.

Community Response 

  • New England Aquarium to Post Daily Virtual Programming for Students at Home – With kids out of school and many of their caretakers working while at home with them, the New England Aquarium will release virtual learning and entertainment programs—from live feedings of sea turtles to videos on marine life from aquarium educators—to keep children and families occupied. The Boston Globe has more.
  • Keolis Reduces Commuter Rail Service to Mimimize Spread – The MBTA and Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis), the agency’s operating partner for Commuter Rail, today announced a Reduced Service Schedule effective Tuesday, March 17. This service level provides a public transit option for people with essential travel needs, such as medical professionals and emergency responders, while helping to limit the spread of COVID-19 by encouraging people to practice social distancing and work-from-home when possible.
  • Slowey McManus Communications Supports Client Response CommunicationsSlowey McManus Communications is actively working with clients to help craft their COVID-19 protocols and helping them communicate with both internal and external audiences and key stakeholders. We are also counseling clients to embrace technology – continue communicating with employees, customers and clients with tools like Zoom, Webex, etc. and via social media platforms such as Facebook Live, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn. Let people know what you are doing and why it’s important on your own website. Nearly everyone is online all day now so be part of the conversation, offer to help and contribute to solutions.

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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