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 – Restructuring the National Stockpile
The Trump Administration is releasing a plan to restructure the Strategic National Stockpile, implementing lessons learned from recent pandemics.
The next generation stockpile, or SNS, will boost supplies of critically needed items, integrate predictive analytics to determine needs, leverage technology to provide real-time visibility of supply chains, and reduce dependency on foreign supplies.
Additionally, President Trump signed an Executive Order providing the authority to ensure America is producing critical goods necessary to build up the nation’s strategic stockpiles. Under the order, the United States International Development Finance Corp. will provide financing to key industries producing vital goods and services.
Previous SNS inventories, according to the Administration, lacked the breadth and depth to respond to pandemic demand, stocking 28 percent of needed items and containing less than a month’s supply of key items.
Under the former system, the Administration says, the ability to determine what products were most needed, rapidly replenish items, and target the distribution of critical products to high-need areas was lacking.
Since less than half of personal protective equipment is manufactured in North America, the supply chain was vulnerable to foreign production interruptions.
The coronavirus pandemic exposed the need to increase domestic production and reduce foreign dependence on items critical to our nation’s health and national security, the Administration says.
Federal Government – Mitigation Strategies
The CDC on Thursday issued a new document, “Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission,” outlining the background, goals, and guiding principles behind local virus mitigation strategies.
The goals of a community’s strategy should be to slow the transmission of disease and protect individuals at increased risk for severe illness, and the health care and critical infrastructure workforces.
Guiding principles should take into account:
- Community characteristics.
- Health care capacity.
- Public health capacity.
- Individuals and families at home.
- Schools and childcare.
- Assisted-living facilities and adult day care programs.
- Community and faith-based organizations.
To download the complete document, visit here.
KPMG Introduces Framework for Business Re-opening
KPMG, an international accounting and auditing firm with a large practice in downtown Detroit, has introduced a framework to help organizations implement approaches to bring employees back to workplaces.
KPMG’s framework includes a technology-enabled and data-driven assessment of COVID-19-related impacts within a community, along with an evaluation of the challenges that individuals and their employers may have to navigate as they re-enter the workplace.
The five-step framework offers flexibility based on the nature of the client’s business. It assesses risk in local markets, addresses government and regulatory considerations, and provides a technology component to help executives make informed decisions.
“Reopening organizations and bringing employees back on-site presents technical challenges complicated by the fluidity of the situation, public policy responses, and different challenges faced by businesses, their suppliers and their individual employees,” says Atif Zaim, customer and operations services line leader at KPMG. “KPMG’s dynamic risk-based framework helps organizations build and execute an effective return-to-work program.”
KPMG’s approach includes:
- Risk based framework.
- Workforce and workplace considerations.
- Partnering process.
- Technology enablement and employee logistics.
- Program governance.
For more details on KPMG’s return-to-work framework, please click here.
“No two organizations or their risk profiles are alike, and creating a framework to address COVID-19-related impacts requires a high degree of sophisticated analytics and a firm understanding of health policy implications and business processes to help entities resume operations,” says Paul Hencoski, health care and government solutions practice leader at KPMG.
In Related News: The nonprofit SCORE Detroit has created a three-page storefront reopening checklist for Michigan small businesses planning on making the slow and steady transition back into their brick-and-mortar business, following state mandated orders. The checklist covers topics from finances to marketing and customer engagement for every type of business. To view the checklist, visit here.
Federal Government – OSHA Nursing Home Alert
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued an alert listing safety tips employers can follow to help protect nursing home and long-term care facility workers from exposure to COVID-19.
Safety measures employers can implement to protect workers in the nursing home and long-term care industry include:
- Screening workers and residents regularly for signs and symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.
- Sending sick workers home or to seek medical care.
- Closely monitoring and taking additional precautions regarding employees and residents who may have been exposed to an individual with the coronavirus.
- Asking visitors to inform the facility if they develop a fever or symptoms consistent with the coronavirus within 14 days of their visit.
- Maintaining at least 6 feet between workers, residents, and visitors to the extent possible, including while workers perform their duties and during breaks.
- Staggering break periods to avoid crowding in breakrooms.
- Considering alternatives to in-person large group gatherings.
- Continually monitoring personal protective equipment (PPE) stocks, burn rate, and supply chains.
- Developing a process to decontaminate and reuse PPE.
- Follow CDC recommendations for optimization of PPE supplies.
- Encouraging workers to report any safety and health concerns.
OSHA also has published Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. It is available here.
Troy Defines Business Opportunity Zones
A new $1.5 million Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund was announced May 12 to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 recover from the outbreak. The program, which offers grants from $1,000 to $10,000, targets businesses in geographically disadvantaged areas such as Opportunity Zones and HUBZones. The city of Troy has defined these zones within its borders. The Opportunity Zone is bounded by Maple Road, W. Big Beaver Road, Crooks Road, and Livernois. Two HUBZones have been defined. One is the area bounded by 14 Mile Road, Maple Road, John R, and Dequindre. The other is bounded by E. Big Beaver, John R, 14 Mile Road, Livernois, Maple Road, Rochester Road, and Stephenson Highway.
A Troy HUBZone map can be seen here.
The Right Place Inc. in Grand Rapids has developed and launched the West Michigan PPE Supplier Directory. This directory features West Michigan manufacturers who are producing high-demand PPE supplies, along with contact information to procure the supplies.
Companies can use the directory to source a wide variety of commonly needed types of PPE such as face masks and shields, gowns, googles, gloves, sanitization products, thermometers, and more. More than 60 local companies are featured in the directory. Additionally, products and manufacturers are being added on a regular basis. West Michigan manufacturers who want to be added to the list are encouraged to email PPEequip@rightplace.org.
In Related News: Grand Rapids’ Boyd Corp., an engineered materials and thermal management solutions company, announced a joint effort with The Coca-Cola Co. and Makers Respond.org, called RESOLVE, to deliver critically needed medical face shields for health care workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan.
Boyd is modifying production lines, tooling, and material supplies at its manufacturing facilities to create local supply agility for the Origami Face Shield, a design that is cost efficient to enable single, disposable use and offers enhanced protection and performance for health care providers.
To help accelerate face shield availability and shortened replenishment cycles on a constrained supply chain, Boyd manufactured the face shields from its facility in Grand Rapids, donating tooling costs, machine time, and engineering development to optimize manufacturing speed, in collaboration with Makers Respond, a non-profit focused on identifying alternative sources of PPE during this pandemic, and featuring polyethylene terephthalate (PET) donated by Coca-Cola.
To request Origami Face Shields, visit here.
The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel will be increasing the frequency of overnight closures in May and June to expedite its ongoing $22 million renovation project.
The tunnel will close between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Mondays through Thursdays from May 18 through June 18 (the tunnel will be closed overnight May 18-21, May 26-28, June 1-4 and June 8-11). There will be no closures over the Memorial Day weekend, May 22-25.
“By speeding up the progress while border restrictions are in place, we will help minimize the impact on our customers in the long term,” says Neal Belitsky, president of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. “We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding while we complete this renovation project, which will extend the life of the 90-year-old tunnel and ensure that it will remain a crucial resource of commerce between our two nations.”
During the COVID-19 crisis, the tunnel is open only to essential traffic. With traffic levels down, but steady, the Detroit and Windsor teams met with the contractor to review their options to accelerate the project before the travel restrictions are lifted.
Henry Ford Health System’s Rehabilitation Services have gone virtual to connect with patients who need to continue their rehab at home during the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since starting Virtual Visits a month ago, more than 240 sessions have been conducted.
“The visits are going well,” says Kathy Neckrock who oversees Henry Ford Hospital and Henry Ford Medical Group’s inpatient and outpatient rehab services locations. Her team of physical and occupational therapists work with a variety of patients requiring specific treatment approaches. “These are time-sensitive patients who can’t physically get in or felt uncomfortable coming in due to the COVID-19 situation.”
Patients are using the virtual option to continue therapy to manage pain and help maintain movement and function. Many are recovering from surgery done just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that forced stay at home orders. Some therapy needs are helping post-operative patients who are waiting for follow-up medical procedures to have pins removed and other similar needs.
Virtual Visits will continue to play an important role for the System’s rehab services even after clinics are open again since limitations such as social distancing and higher-risk patients will still exist.
Also known as Video Visits, scheduling a virtual visit is easily done through a patient’s active MyChart account.
To schedule, patients must have an order from their physician.
“What’s nice is there are visuals,” says David Tomsich who is the director of Sports Rehab Services and Physical Therapy at the Henry Ford Center for Athletic Medicine. “All these in the past have been over the phone so virtual visits have improved treatment.”
The ability for the therapist to see the patient go through the rehab exercises real time is the next best thing to being there in person. The biggest challenge for physical therapists doing Virtual Visits is the inability to put their hands on patients as they work through manual treatment with them.
“I’ve had to be more creative with what I’m doing with patients,” says Nancy Houze, a physical therapist with Henry Ford Health System. “I will have the patient work on themselves by doing self-massage or using foam rollers or other soft tissue tools to help work on themselves to loosen tissue.”
Houze explains that patients don’t need any of the therapy equipment used at the facility in order to take part in Virtual Visits from home.
“We just work on using body weight resistance for exercises, so if it’s for a lower extremity we will work on doing squats and calf raises – things that are more body weight focused.” She added that for upper body extremities, she will have patients use the ground as a form of resistance or have them do active range of motion exercises.
Sparrow Health System in Lansing is making antibody testing available to the general public.
Antibody testing now is available at Sparrow Laboratory Service Centers.
The antibody test used by Sparrow is approved by the FDA and has been validated.
Antibody testing is a blood test that detects if you have developed antibodies to the COVID-19 virus. The test does not check for the actual virus but recognizes if you’ve had COVID-19 in the past. Results are expected to be available within 72 hours.
Insurance is accepted. The cost is $50 for those without insurance.
Results will be sent to the MySparrow patient portal. To sign up for MySparrow, contact Sparrow Laboratories at 517-371-9500.
Diagnostic testing (nasal swab) is available and recommended for anyone who is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Sparrow also offers COVID-19 testing to employers who contract with Sparrow Occupational Health. Those workers may include employees returning to work at grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and newly reopened big box stores. Employers wanting more information can contact Sparrow Occupational Health at 517-364-3900.
The World Literacy Foundation in Grand Rapids has developed an interactive Netflix-type platform to equip educators with resources that have been affected by the indefinite school lockdown as a result of COVID-19.
The purpose behind the streaming service was born out of the COVID-19 lock down of classrooms with an estimation of 25 million teachers who are out of the classroom in low-income regions of Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America
“Regardless of a teacher’s geographic location, with a mobile phone they can access for free, hundreds of hours of presentations, research, best practices, podcasts, teacher tools, and resources for free,” says Andrew Kay, CEO of the World Literacy Foundation. “In a month, our team designed a digital, remote learning platform, specifically for teachers in rural, remote and isolated communities.”
The online learning platform facilitates 600 pieces of suitable content for educators from varying backgrounds and languages.
According to the latest available data from UNESCO, 1.57 billion students have been affected by school closures in more than 190 countries, worldwide.
“Just as COVID-19’s impact has no borders, its solutions must not have borders, as it requires the collaboration across public and private sectors to ensure every educator remains engaged and continues to learn,” says Kay.
For more information, visit here.
The Detroit Institute of Arts’ Thursdays at the Museum program for adults 55 and over has moved online with a new, live program each week at 1 p.m. Viewers are invited to take a “Behind the Seen” look into the DIA’s collection with trained docents in this interactive event. The docents will cover a different topic every week and participants will be able to ask questions, comment and chat with others.
The online format allows viewers to participate without showing themselves on screen, making it a relaxing, casual visit from the comfort of their own home.
Programming for the next four weeks includes Mysteries at the Museum, Detroit Industry Murals – Rivera Court, and Self Portraits: Artists in the DIA’s Collection.
Those interested in the event can find the link here. The link goes live 30 minutes before the event begins at 1 p.m. After submitting their zip code, viewers will be directed to click into to the live event. The zip code information helps the DIA ensure it continues to serve residents of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.
The Concours d’Elegance of America, originally scheduled to take place July 24-26 at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth Township, has been moved to July 23-25, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have all been monitoring the health crisis facing our state and nation,” says Tara Noftz, director of the Concours d’Elegance. “Ultimately, the governor has issued guidelines that will not allow an event of our size for the foreseeable future. That, together with our concerns for the health and safety of our collectors, judges, spectators, partners, volunteers, and our entire Concours family, we were left with no other choice.”
In Related News: NASCAR and the Michigan International Speedway announced Thursday that the FireKeepers Casino 400 race weekend (June 5-7) has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date yet to be determined. Races will instead be run at Atlanta Motor Speedway June 5-7.
The next scheduled race at MIS is the Consumers Energy 400 on Aug. 9.