March 31 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 also check our COVID-19 Virtual Events Calendar for information on upcoming COVID-19 related programming – including Congressional town halls and webinars presented by NEC members.

Here is today’s (March 31, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • Massachusetts General Hospital Seeking Approval for Rapid COVID-19 Test– Researchers in the pathology department at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have begun using a diagnostic test for COVID-19 that can deliver results in 15 minutes. The test, made by Cambridge biotech E25Bio–established by researchers from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)–is currently being run alongside the typically-used test while it awaits emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The Boston Globe
  • UMass Memorial Dedicates Nine Specialized Care Units – As it braces for a surge in patients, UMass Memorial Medical Center is repurposing existing units and facilities at its two Worcester campuses to handle more coronavirus patients. In addition to more space for patients, the hospital has also begun developing contingency staffing plans and obtaining more equipment necessary. Read more in the Worcester Business Journal.
  • Beth Israel Partnership Receives $1 Billion in Search for Vaccine – Both the federal government and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) have committed $1 billion in the search for a vaccine, building on work already done by J&J and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). The funding will be used to advance the three candidates for vaccines the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at the hospital has produced. The Boston Globe has more.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • Eli Lilly Commits to Insulin AffordabilityEli Lilly (Lilly) has pledged to keep insulin prices stable and affordable for all who rely on it, regardless of employment or insurance. In addition to maintaining affordable prices for its patients, Lilly has a variety of offerings—ranging from a hotline to field questions to a resource page for users of Lilly insulin—to ensure those who need insulin have access to it. Read more.
  • OpenCape Corporation Commits to Free Broadband Upgrades – To ensure that organizations and individuals can stay connected during the pandemic, OpenCape has pledged to offer free broadband upgrades for all customers. The pledge follows the provider’s earlier commitment to waive late fees, cease service shutoffs, and open Wi-Fi hot spots to the public. Read more here.

Community Response

  • Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program Establishes Response Fund – In coordination with partners at Boston Medical Center and the Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) has created a COVID-19 Response Fund to provide resources, treatment, and support for those in the homeless population who become infected. Read more.
  • Greater Boston Food Bank Receives $200,000 Donation – As part of a $1 million emergency aid grant from Sallie Mae, the Greater Boston Food Bank has received $200,000 to support relief efforts in the area. The funds will be used to provide healthy food to families experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic. Read more in Business Wire.

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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