May 7 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 7, 2020) roundup:

Medical Response

  • Harvard Releases Guide for Evaluating Potential COVID-19 Symptoms – A new study from Harvard University provides insight for physicians determining whether a patient’s symptoms point to COVID-19 infection. The guide helps providers distinguish common symptoms of COVID-19—such as shortness of breath and fever—from other symptoms to help healthcare workers avoid false negatives. The Boston Globe reports.
  • Dana-Farber Uses Lab Equipment to Sterilize, Reuse Protective Equipment Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers are using the hospital’s existing decontamination room, usually used on shipments entering sterile labs, to sterilize protective equipment so that it can be reused. The room can now decontaminate up to 2,000 masks at a time, as well as face shields and other protective equipment, allowing the hospital to stretch supplies of essential resources. The Boston Business Journal has more.

Economic/Business Continuity Response

  • International Association of Fire Fighters Releases Community Safety Resources During Pandemic – A new publication from the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) offers safety resources and tips for keeping communities and homes safe during a pandemic. The report highlights the potential safety threats caused by more time at home, including drowning and poisoning in children, pet safety, and behavioral health.
  • Health Care For All Providing Assistance for Residents, Providers Health Care For All is continuing to operate its multilingual hotline for uninsured Massachusetts residents remotely, and is working with the state to expand training for health insurance enrollment assisters. The nonprofit is also compiling policy reports and recommendations to better inform the state’s response to the pandemic. Read more.
  • JPMorgan Weighing More Permanent Remote Work Plan – Even after the pandemic ends, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is considering implementing a long-term remote work policy to support sustainability and cost-saving efforts. The firm has been able to handle almost triple its normal trading volume, despite 90% of its investment staff working remotely, showing the potential shift’s promise. Bloomberg reports.

Community Response

  • UnitedHealth Group Providing $1.5 Billion in Assistance to CustomersUnitedHealth Group is providing more than $1.5 billion in assistance and premium rebates to its customers to support them during the crisis. The company is offering assistance with out-of-pocket charges for doctor visits, expanding access to telehealth, and reducing authorization requirements. In addition, the insurer has committed more than $70 million to aid first responders and communities in need. Read more in the Wall Street Journal.
  • Bank of America Donates $100,000 to UMass Memorial Bank of America, as part of its $100 million commitment to relief worldwide, has awarded a $100,000 grant to UMass Memorial Medical Center. The funds will be used to expand the hospital’s telemedicine program, which has seen increased demand as more patients opt to use the virtual system. The Worcester Business Journal reports.

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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