Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Federal Government – HHS Ships Remdesivir
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the distribution plan for the drug remdesivir. The allocation is from a donation by Gilead Sciences Inc. to the United States, which was finalized on May 3. The donated doses of the treatment, which received an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will be used to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients in areas of the country hardest hit by the pandemic.
Deliveries of 40 cases of the drug to Michigan and five other states began May 7. Each case contains 40 vials of the donated drug.
State health departments will distribute the doses to appropriate hospitals as state and local health departments have the greatest insight into community-level needs in the COVID-19 response, including appropriate distribution of a treatment in limited supply. Health care providers interested in administering the donated experimental drug should contact their state health department.
Candidates for the donated doses must be patients on ventilators or on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or who require supplemental oxygen due to room-air blood oxygen levels at or below 94 percent. Public health experts from the federal government have been in contact with state health departments regarding these allocations.
Gilead Sciences says it is committed to supplying approximately 607,000 vials of the experimental drug over the next six weeks to treat an estimated 78,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients under an EUA granted by the FDA. The donation to the United States is part of 1.5 million vials of remdesivir the company is donating worldwide.
The National Institutes of Health and Gilead Sciences worked together to conduct a randomized controlled clinical trial of the investigational drug in hospitalized patients. Preliminary results suggested that remdesivir was associated with faster recovery, although the data was not sufficient to determine if the drug was associated with lower mortality.
ASPR expects cases to be delivered to all 50 states as well as territories and the Veterans Health Administration and the Indian Health Service for distribution within those health systems.
The FDA granted the EUA exit disclaimer icon on May 1 allowing remdesivir to be administered by health care providers to treat suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease. Severe disease is defined as patients with low blood oxygen levels or needing oxygen therapy or more intensive breathing support such as a mechanical ventilator.
Medical Equipment Comes to Detroit
GetUsPPE, a Boston-based volunteer organization connecting health care providers with supplies of PPE, has delivered one million face shields to health care facilities around the United States, including Detroit.
Shields manufactured and donated by medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific were distributed by partners including Amazon to health care facilities in more than 40 U.S. states and territories.
With the help of a team of national volunteers and regional affiliate organizations, GetUsPPE identified the health care facilities with the highest need for face shields. Distribution was determined through the online Demand Data Hub, which is the largest database of PPE needs in the country.
This effort engaged other companies to source and deliver domestically manufactured face shields to thousands of U.S. health care facilities. Boston Scientific mobilized employees at a dozen sites to produce and donate one million face shields in response to the demands of the pandemic, while Amazon offered logistics support by utilizing space on Amazon trailers to deliver the shields from Boston Scientific to delivery stations. Amazon associates at local delivery stations worked with Delivery Service Partners in Detroit, Chicago, and the Washington, D.C./Baltimore metro areas to deliver 124,000 face shields to hospitals and clinics since April 24. Regional GetUsPPE affiliate teams and national volunteers also helped coordinate deliveries to hospitals and clinics.
“The magnitude of this donation of PPE demonstrates the combined power of volunteers and American businesses to create solutions and help keep health care workers safe,” says Dr. Megan Ranney, one of the co-founders of GetUsPPE. “Boston Scientific quickly ramped up production, and Amazon’s support of the delivery of this equipment to frontline providers will have an enormous impact on health care workers’ ability to safely care for their patients.”
New listings and home sales are seeing early signs of recovery in the U.S. housing market, even as some cities struggle to flatten the coronavirus curve, finds a new analysis from Seattle-based Redfin, a technology-powered real estate brokerage.
Redfin found that in areas where real estate has been deemed an essential service, unlike Detroit, both housing supply and demand is beginning to strengthen, even if the community has not yet experienced a peak in COVID-19 cases.
Of the four metros in the company’s analysis, including Chicago, New Orleans, and Seattle, Detroit has seen the weakest rebound, with homes under contract now down 70 percent after bottoming at about 80 percent. Still, people are buying move-in ready houses at lower price points, according to local agent Tony Orlando.
Detroit was the only metro market in the Redfin analysis where real estate was not deemed an essential service — meaning agents were unable to show homes and visit with clients while the state’s initial stay-at-home order was in place — Detroit flattened the curve in early April. Restrictions on real estate in Michigan eased May 7.
Detroit experienced the earliest and sharpest rise and fall in listings. More than 600 homes, or about one in nine houses for sale, were pulled off the market during the 28-day period ending April 5. That number had fallen to 380 homes, or about one in 13 listings, as of May 1.
Detroit saw the biggest collapse in new listings, sinking as much as 79 percent from the prior year during the week ending April 2. Unlike the other metros in the analysis, new listings in Detroit have yet to rebound significantly, still down 70 percent, as real estate remains a non-essential service.
“Homes going for $250,000 and under are still super competitive,” Orlando says. “One of my clients toured a $215,000 house in Pontiac on a group Zoom call with several other prospective buyers the day it hit the market. Within 30 minutes, there were four offers. The property went for above-asking during a pandemic.”
To read the full report, please click here.
Comcast Business is conducting four new webinars this month – May 14, May 19, May 21, and May 28. They are 30 minutes each and explore a variety of topics with the main theme being “The Road to Recovery.”
Rebuilding Hospitality through Technology and Innovation
The first webinar will take place on Thursday, May 14 at 1 p.m. and is titled Rebuilding Hospitality through Technology and Innovation. Panelists including Michael Blake, CEO of Hospitality Technology Next Generation, and Matthew Fitzgerald, senior director of Comcast Business’ Deep Blue, will explore the existing and anticipated protocols being driven by the new normal in hospitality; the wide range of related technologies that are already, or will soon be, put into play; the infrastructure and network needs that support them.
Click here to register for the May 14 webinar.
Technology and Innovation for Supply Chain Recovery
The second Comcast Business webinar will take place on Tuesday, May 19 at 2 p.m. It is titled Technology and Innovation for Supply Chain Recovery. Panelists include Randy V. Bradley, associate professor of information systems and supply chain management at The University of Tennessee, and Simon Ellis, program vice president, IDC Manufacturing Insights. They will discuss the ways in which supply chains must change to meet reshaped demand; the need for total transparency in staying ahead of supply chain issues; logistics and inventory technologies geared to disruption; how the right infrastructure and network support these technologies; shifts in supply chain positioning and technology for the long term.
To register for the May 19 webinar, click here.
Charting Financial Services’ Digital Pivot
Charting Financial Services’ Digital Pivot is the title of the third webinar, which will take place on Thursday, May 21 at 1 p.m.
Panelists Larry K. Williams, president and CEO of the Technology Association of Georgia, and Jeff Buzzelli, senior vice president at Comcast Business Sales, will discuss the impacts of digital transformation on the sector, including: FinTech investment strategies to meet new customer-engagement needs; how AI, IoT, and software solutions are enabling automation in customer support, account-opening procedures, loan automation, and more; and the ways in which infrastructure and networks are shifting to meet new demands.
To register for the May 21 webinar, click here.
Strengthening Your Telehealth Program to Respond to COVID-19 Demand and Beyond
The final May webinar offering from Comcast Business concerns a company’s telehealth program. It takes place on Wednesday, May 28 at 1 p.m.
The prime speaker is scheduled to be Dr. Peter Fleischut, senior vice president and chief transformation officer at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He will discuss how hospital technology networks are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and his predictions for the future.
The registration link for this session has yet to be established.
Meridian Supports Local Support Efforts
Detroit’s Meridian Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene Corp., a multi-national health care company, is helping to increase access to food and essential supplies by supporting community-based organizations and programs across the state.
“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic extend far beyond medical care, impacting access to food, education, and other critical resources across our state,” says Sean Kendall, president and CEO for Michigan at Meridian. “These social determinants of health have a significant impact on overall wellbeing, especially among vulnerable populations, and Meridian wants to help ensure we’re supporting the needs of our communities during this challenging time.”
In partnership with Feeding America and Centene Corp., Meridian will coordinate a donation of 1 million meals a month for the next 12 months to feed those in Michigan and across the country.
In Michigan, Meridian donated $45,000 to seven food banks across the state to help purchase meals for local residents.
Meridian also purchased more than $60,000 worth of Walmart gift cards for use on essential health care and educational supplies. Each gift card is worth $35 and can be used to purchase essential items like diapers, over-the-counter medicines, cleaning supplies, and books.
To learn more about Meridian’s COVID-19 response, click here.
HAP Blood Drive
Health Alliance Plan, in partnership with Versiti Blood Bank of Michigan, will conduct a blood drive on Wednesday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at its corporate headquarters, 1414 E. Maple Rd., in Troy. Versiti staff are following precautions to ensure the safety of the donation process. Registration is required and can be completed here.