May 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 (May 1, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • Amgen Testing Potential COVID-19 TreatmentAmgen is testing its psoriasis drug, Otezla, as a potential treatment for COVID-19’s inflammatory symptoms. The biotechnology company is also partnering with other industry leaders to develop antibody treatments targeting the virus. CNBC reports.
  • New Balance Repairs 50,000 Face Masks for Boston Hospitals – After New Balance halted shoe production to supply hospitals with personal protective equipment, the manufacturer was able to salvage 50,000 masks that had been damaged for Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The company was able to deliver the repaired and fully-functional masks to hospital staff in under a week. WCVB5 has more.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Sees Increase in Telehealth Visits Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) has seen a hundredfold increase in users opting for telehealth medical appointments, from 5,000 to over half a million visits over the last six weeks. Due to the rapid growth of virtual appointments and popularity of the option, BCBSMA has certified almost 400 new providers to keep pace with increasing demand. Read more from WBUR.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • NEC Members Selected for Massachusetts Reopening Advisory Board – Executives from several NEC members, including Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Fidelity Investments, General Dynamics, and Massachusetts General Hospital, have been chosen by governor Charlie Baker (R-MA) to join the state’s Reopening Advisory Board. Composed of business and municipal government leaders, the 17-member board will advise Governor Baker on strategies for reopening the state’s economy in phases based on public health and safety data. Read more in the Worcester Business Journal.
  • CIBC Launches Online Hub for Financial Advice CIBC has launched a new online resource center to provide financial information for its clients. Advice for Today delivers insights on personal finance resources, advice for families and individuals on government and market changes, and more. Newswire has more.
  • Citizens Bank Issues Grants to Small Businesses – 32 small businesses received grants from Citizens Bank to offset operating costs and revenue losses from the pandemic. The businesses, across different industries and the state, all received $15,000 from the bank as part of its $5 million commitment to small business support. Read more in MassLive

Community Response

  • Boston University Opens Campus Housing to Pine Street Inn Employees Boston University is offering its now-vacant student housing to employees from Pine Street Inn as they isolate from their families and work long hours serving the homeless population in the city. The buildings offered by the university can house 75 shelter staffers as they work, while accommodating their shifts and reducing commutes. BU Today has more.
  • Red Sox Establish Fund for Food-Insecure Families – The Boston Red Sox have launched a new initiative, the Red Sox Foundation Emergency Hardship Fund, to aid families experiencing food insecurity by providing grocery vendor gift cards. The fund was established by a $300,000 donation from the Red Sox community and adds to previous donation from the team to causes such as educational relief. More from The Boston Globe

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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