COVID-19 Update: Ventilators, Stimulus Check Assistance, and More

Seeking to limit the spread of COVID-19, here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the pandemic as well as announcements from local, state, and federal governments, and international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge, as of April 13

Seeking to limit the spread of COVID-19, here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the pandemic as well as announcements from local, state, and federal governments, and international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced five new contracts for ventilator production rated under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to General Electric, Hill-Rom, Medtronic, ResMed, and Vyaire, as well as two other contracts for ventilator production, to Hamilton and Zoll.

In total, combined with contracts with General Motors Co. and Philips rated under the DPA, HHS has finalized contracts to supply 6,190 ventilators for the Strategic National Stockpile by May 8 and 29,510 by June 1. The seven new ventilator contracts announced by HHS this month will provide a total of 137,431 ventilators by the end of 2020.

The rating of the five contracts under the DPA follows President Trump’s to HHS Secretary Alex Azar to invoke the Act with regard to General Electric, Hill-Rom, ResMed, Medtronic, and Vyaire on April 2.

The contract include:
— General Electric’s contract, at a price of $64.1 million, is for 2,410 ventilators produced by June 29, with 112 by May 4 and 736 by June 1.
— Hamilton’s contract, at a price of $552 million, is for 14,115 ventilators produced by July 3, with 850 by May 8 and 4,404 by May 22.
— Hill-Rom’s contract, at a price of $20.1 million, is for 3,400 ventilators produced by July 13, with 400 by June 1.
— Medtronic’s contract, at a price of $9.1 million, is for 1,056 ventilators to be produced by June 22, with 200 by May 4 and 678 by June 1.
— ResMed’s contract, at a price of $31.98 million, is for 2,550 ventilators produced by July 13, with 400 by May 4 and 1,150 by June 1.
— Vyaire’s contract, at a price of $407.9 million, is for 22,000 ventilators produced by June 29, with 1,200 ventilators by May 4 and 9,100 by June 1.
— Zoll’s contract, at a price of $350.1 million, is for 18,900 ventilators produced by July 3, with 1,010 by May 4 and 4,410 by June 1.

Hospital Income
Southfield-based Beaumont Health announced on Monday the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted its operating and non-operating income for the first quarter. As of March 31, its net income was -$278.4 million, a decrease of $407.5 million over the same period in 2019. Operating revenues fell to $1.07 billion, a $78.2 million decrease over the $1.15 billion reported in the first quarter of 2019.

Net operating income for the first three months of 2020 was -$54.1 million (-5 percent operating margin), a $91.7 million decrease from 2019’s result of $37.6 million (3.3 percent operating margin). Non-operating losses for the first quarter were $224.6 million, compared to a non-operating gain of $91.6 million in the same period last year.

“The Beaumont Health team remains focused on caring for our COVID-19 patients and the many other patients we serve with other diagnoses,” says John Kerndl, chief financial officer. “Right now, we have the resources, staff, and personal protective equipment to care for our COVID-19 patients. However, the shelter-in-place order and community concerns about the virus have led to significant reductions in emergency center visits, non-essential surgeries, and diagnostic services. We believe these reductions will continue well into the second quarter and negatively impact financial performance in a significant way.”

Beaumont said it has a strong balance sheet with extensive liquidity.

It is also doing the following to improve financial performance:

  • Pursuing all federal and state programs including FEMA, CARES, and other COVID-19 programs.
  • Deferring all non-essential and non-COVID-19 related capital expenditures.
  • Evaluating all expenses, including staffing levels, and identifying ways to reduce expenses to align costs and current volume levels.

The health system’s treasury indicators are as follows:

  • Cash and investments: $2.052 billion at the end of the first quarter for 2020, compared to $2.1 billion for the same period in 2019.
  • Unrestricted days cash on hand was 175.9 days in 2020 versus 172.9 days in 2019.
  • Total debt for 2020 was $1.52 billion compared to $1.57 billion for 2019.

Stimulus Checks
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has developed the 2020 Coronavirus Stimulus Payment website, which walks people through a step-by-step process to ensure they’ve provided the IRS with the information necessary to receive their stimulus checks.

The site was created by Poverty Solutions at U-M. The vast majority of Michigan residents are eligible for the stimulus checks made available by the CARES Act, which was signed into law March 27. Individuals earning less than $75,000 or married and filing jointly earning less than $150,000 are likely eligible for full payments of $1,200 per adult plus $500 per child under the age of 17. Heads of household making less than $112,500 are also eligible for full stimulus payments.

For most people, the check swill be directly deposited into the bank account provided on their most recent tax returns or delivered via the Social Security system starting this month. People who don’t file taxes, don’t have a bank account, or move frequently and don’t have a stable address where the check can be mailed face barriers to receiving their checks.

The website has information on how to open a safe and affordable bank account, how to file a simple tax return for free, and how to provide the IRS with a current address, although it could still take up to five months to receive a stimulus check by mail.

“While eligibility for these funds is nearly universal, we are concerned about administrative procedures that could end up denying or delaying stimulus checks to the most vulnerable people,” says H. Luke Shaefer, director of Poverty Solutions and the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy at U-M. “Relief measures must include provisions to ensure the timely delivery of aid to the people who need it most.”

Poverty Solutions, a university-wide initiative that aims to prevent and alleviate poverty through research, analyzed national data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and found that the unbanked, people who don’t file taxes, and recent movers are disproportionately concentrated among the poor.

Analysis by Poverty Solutions finds that among those in deep poverty – earning less than half the poverty line – 57 percent are at risk of a delayed or missing stimulus payment. This is true for 52 percent of all poor families, compared to just 20 percent of those above the poverty line. Among households reporting some kind of hardship, such as an inability to pay for housing or utilities, no health insurance, or food insecurity, 36 percent are at risk of a delayed or missing payment compared to just 16 percent of households that are able to make ends meet.

Hand Sanitizer Production
Perrigo Co., which has its North American operations in Allegan, Mich. (northwest of Kalamazoo), plans to donate at least 500,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to local hospitals and first responders facing shortages. The company is manufacturing the product at its New York facility, and it is being delivered to hospitals and health care workers in west Michigan and the greater New York City area. The Michigan State Police will also receive hand sanitizer donations. Additional batches of hand sanitizer will be provided to Perrigo essential employees in the U.S.

The Michigan Venture Capital Association will host a free webinar from 1:30-2:15 p.m. on Friday that discusses its annual research report regarding venture capital in the state. Michigan venture investors back nearly every venture-funded startup in the state.

The webinar will include a panel that discusses the key findings of the report and what needs to happen to maintain Michigan’s ecosystem, especially in the light of COVID-19. Panelists will include Michael Gross, chair of the MVCA and managing director of Beringea; Jeff Rinvelt, vice chair of MVCA and research report chair principal at Renaissance Venture Capital Association; and Ara Topouzian, executive director of the MVCA.

Registration is not required, and the webinar is open for all to attend. It is available here or by calling in at (312) 626-6799.

WIT Inc. in Troy, through its Digital Transformation solutions practice, has partnered with Automation Anywhere, one of the leaders in the Robotic Process Automation software space, is offering a series of free one-hour webinars to introduce the concepts around RPA, with some high-level demonstrations of the Automation Anywhere platform. The speakers are Mark Fisher, Director of Digital Transformation, WIT; Younus Baig, sales engineer, Automation Anywhere; and Nidhin Samuel Alexander, sales engineer, Automation Anywhere

SESSION 1: April 16, Noon — Introduction to RPA and Automation Anywhere In this session, we will introduce the basics of RPA, why it is important, and how companies are successfully adopting this technology. Also included will be a high-level demonstration of an automation, or ‘Bot’, to show the software in action.

SESSION 2: April 23 — ‘Cognitive Automation’ with Automation Anywhere IQ Bot In this session, we will discuss how Automation Anywhere uses machine learning for more advanced use cases in RPA, through its ‘IQ Bot’ product.

SESSION 3: April 30 — RPA Use Case ID with Automation Anywhere Discovery Bot In this final session, we will discuss how Automation Anywhere automates the identification of RPA use cases with its ‘Discovery Bot’ product.

In Related News, CREW Detroit, a nonprofit organization for women in the real estate profession, will host a free virtual webinar, Retooling Your Business for the Future, on April 22 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The zoom program will focus on sustaining business during pandemic situations and what experts in the commercial real estate industry envision “business as usual” to look like after COVID-19. The webinar will be moderated by CREW Detroit’s President Jennifer Chambers. Panelists include Bill Lichwalla, president and CEO of Plante Moran Cresa, and Heather Greene, Detroit workplace design leader and strategist at Stantec Architecture.

To register, attendees can create an account and sign up at

Oak Park-based Forgotten Harvest has announced food distribution locations through Friday.

Tuesday, April 14:

  • Community of Christ – Detroit Hope; 16621 Lahser, Detroit; 9 a.m.-noon
  • New Providence Baptist Church; 18211 Plymouth, Detroit; 9 a.m.-noon
  • Christ Church Westside; 6025 Woodrow St., Detroit; 2-5 p.m.
  • Detroit Institute of Arts; 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Second Ebenezer Church; 14601 Dequindre St., Detroit; 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Madonna University; 36600 Schoolcraft Rd., Livonia; 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Romulus High School; 9650 Wayne Rd., Romulus; 1-5 p.m.

Wednesday, April 15

  • Eastside Mother’s; 8726 E. 7 Mile Rd., Detroit; 9 a.m.-noon
  • Fiberglass Estate Community Hall; 16515 Plymouth Rd., Detroit; 9 a.m. noon
  • Vernon Missionary Baptist Church; 15125 Burt Rd., Detroit; 2-5 p.m.
  • Metropolitan Church of Nazarene; 18945 Frazho Roseville; 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Oak Park Recreation Center; 14300 Oak Park Blvd., Oak Park; 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Thursday, April 16:

  • Welcome Missionary Baptist Church; 143 Oneida St., Pontiac; 9 a.m.-noon
  • Pilgrim Baptist Church; 18474 Binder St., Detroit; 2-5 p.m.
  • Second Canaan Missionary Baptist Church; 9435 Hayes St., Detroit; 9 a.m.-noon
  • Greater King Solomon Baptist Church; 6100 14th St., Detroit; 2-5 p.m.
  • Wayne County Community College; 5901 Conner St., Detroit; 9 a.m.-noon
  • New Haven High School; 57700 Gratiot Ave., New Haven; 9 a.m.-noon

Friday, April 17:

  • First Baptist Church of Holly; 15030 N. Holly Rd., Holly; 9 a.m.-noon
  • New Providence Baptist Church; 18211 Plymouth Rd., Detroit; 9 a.m.-noon
  • Bussey Center for Early Childhood Education; 24501 Fredrick St., Southfield; 9 a.m.-noon
  • Solomon’s Temple Church; 2326 E. 7 Mile Rd., Detroit; 1-5 p.m.
  • Hollitech – Holly Grove; 18016 Riopelle St., Detroit; 2-5 p.m.
  • Gompers Elementary-Middle School; 14450 Burt Rd., Detroit; 9 a.m.-noon
  • First Baptist Church of Wixom; 620 N. Wixom, Wixom; 2-5 p.m.

To donate, click here. To find food during the pandemic, click here.

In Related News, prominent leaders in the Jewish community will take part in a Facebook Live event from 4-5 p.m. today and discuss what their organizations are doing to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. The livestream will be hosted on Life Remodeled’s Facebook page.

Paul Blatt, CEO of JVS Human Services in Southfield, is one of the leaders taking part and will talk about the Career Center at Durfee Innovation Society in Detroit. While the center cannot see clients now, it can still offer remote advice. He will also talk about other career and financial literacy services his nonprofit is providing to the metro Detroit community.

Other speakers include Chris Lambert, CEO and founder of Life Remodeled; Rabbi Josh Bennett of Temple Israel; and Sarah Allyn, executive director of Repair the World Detroit.

Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores has purchased 100,000 personal protection masks for use by the city of Detroit. The surgical-grade masks will be provided to police officers, firefighters, bus drivers, and other city workers.

Gores is making arrangements to have the masks picked up as soon as today from a supplier in New Jersey. As of Monday, when the announcement was made, masks were expected to be delivered to city procurement officers within 48 hours. His team is also working on a long-term relief package for after the pandemic in collaboration with public officials, corporate partners, and community organizers.

Gores’ top priorities are assisting in health care with supplies and resources, ensuring children are not held back by the crisis by taking steps to help protect their futures, and revitalizing the economy to help struggling families and supporting businesses that have been most affected by the crisis.

Last week, the Detroit Pistons picked up and delivered 15,000 ICU gowns donated by the Cleveland Clinic to Henry Ford Health System and partnered with the state of Michigan and city of Detroit on a public service announcement asking for medical volunteers to help in Michigan and encouraging citizens to stay home.

In conjunction with Wayne County and corporate partners, the organization made a $375,000 funding grant to Forgotten Harvest and has made the new Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center available to state government officials as a place to house health care professionals or COVID-19 patients, if designated.

LaFontaine Automotive Group in Highland has donated thousands of pieces of personal protection equipment to seven Michigan hospitals, and over the next week, it will donate more than 25,000 latex gloves, 11,000 N95 masks, and 200 protective glasses.

The equipment will be donated to Beaumont, DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, Henry Ford, Hurley Hospital, U-M, McLaren Oakland Hospital, and Sparrow Hospital. LaFontaine will divide the inventory evenly among the hospitals.

Michigan Women Forward
Michigan Woman Forward in Detroit, a statewide organization focused on building a community where women are empowered to be leaders, inventors, dreamers, and doers, is stepping in to help women entrepreneurs keep their businesses alive during COVID-19. MWF’s assistance to entrepreneurs, backed by several nonprofit and public donors, centers around three pillars: loan relief; coaching and mentorship; and a specially created resilience fund.

MWF’s first initiative began April 1 and is made possible with the support of the NEI Small Business COVID-19 Loan Relief Program, Small Business Administration and Huntington Bank. From April through September 2020, MWF secured loan payment relief for 80 percent of women entrepreneurs who hold Michigan Women Forward microloans in good standing. During this period, loan recipients from MWF and four other organizations will have their loan payments covered and other loan payments deferred for the next three months.

The second pillar of MWF’s COVID-19 relief is the new Michigan Women Forward COVID-19 Resilience Fund to help meet the immediate needs of women-owned businesses and support the startup and recovery of their businesses as soon as the Stay At Home order is lifted. MWF said it is meeting with each entrepreneur with a loan and those that contact them on the MWF website. Over the next three weeks, MWF will help them to create a cash flow analysis for their business. From that work, the organization will begin creating a Recovery & Re-Start Up Plan ready and waiting to be implemented.

The third pillar of MWF’s support for women entrepreneurs during the pandemic is the COVID-19 Entrepreneur Assistance Project. The project will match entrepreneurs who are experiencing hardship with subject experts and contract workers, says Carolyn Cassin, president and CEO of Michigan Women Forward.

More information can be found at

Farm Bureau Insurance plans to give $5.4 million to its members across the state as part of its We’re in This Together Initiative. The money will be given via free meals at more than 1,200 local restaurants, and more than 215,000 members will receive the perk. Farm Bureau will fund an additional 18,000 meals, or 15 at each of the 1,200 restaurants, for first responders. Finally, the company will invest in its farmer members who supply food to restaurants across the state.

Details of the initiative are still being worked out, and the program is expected to begin by Friday.

The initiative follows the Farm Bureau Family of Cos. Million Meal Challenge, which funded 1.1 million meals through the seven food banks across Michigan for children and families honoring the stay home, stay safe order.