Over the past two months, the need to find new ways to contain the coronavirus, connect people to their loved ones, and end the pandemic has continued to grow. We're taking a look at some of the positive efforts and innovations by hospitals and state government that will help all of us through this challenging time and beyond.
WGBH is sharing 10 things you should know about Gov. Charlie Baker's mask mandate, which went into effect on May 6. Important highlights include:
- Masks are required for anyone in a public place who is unable to maintain six feet of separation from others.
- Medical masks are not necessary and should be reserved for health care workers. Cloth masks or coverings, like scarves or bandannas, should cover your nose and mouth. The CDC has more information about creating your own cloth face covering.
- Failure to comply with the order can result in a fine of up to $300.
- Masks do not replace the need for social distancing.
- The order also applies to public transportation, ride-sharing, and workplaces where social distancing is not possible to maintain.
Concerns about PPE shortages are pushing hospitals to adopt new technology in order to conserve supplies. At Brigham and Women's Hospital, technology like 3D-printed face shields is already making providers feel safer and more protected. To further reduce exposure for providers and patients, this hospital has fast-tracked a pilot program to use iPads as a way of remotely communicating with patients.
The iPads allow providers to check in on COVID-positive patients without entering their rooms, a process that requires a fresh gown for each patient each time. Over 400 iPads are currently in use at Brigham and Women's with more distributed across the Partners System.
A new virtual visitor program created by Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital staff is helping patients stay connected to their family and friends who are unable to visit in person and provide access to appointments the otherwise could not attend.
Using iPads to conduct video calls, family and friends of patients can be more closely involved in their care and provide encouragement during their treatment. The program may also continue after the pandemic as a way to help patients who have come from other parts of the country stay connected with their loved ones.
Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital have joined the global effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine. The project was launched with a $1 million donation from Wyc Grousbeck, co-owner of the Boston Celtics.
The potential vaccine will use an inactive virus as a way to expose immune systems to COVID-19 and produce a response that will protect from the disease. The vaccine is one of at least 111 in development around the world due to the urgent need for a method of preventing coronavirus and the fact that many will not make it to approval stages.
AllWays Health Partners is hosting a webinar to provide parents with specialized training and support to help reinforce their sense of a job well done in the face of daunting circumstances. Participants will learn how to develop personalized resiliency techniques and survival skills that quell stress and burnout.
The webinar will take place on May 18 from noon to 1 PM. Sign up now to attend.