Coronavirus: BU Tuesday Roundup
BU, Boston, state, national, and global updates
If you have a question or comment related to BU and its response to the COVID-19 crisis, on the subject of the move-out, remote learning, retrieving personal belongings, or anything else, please visit Boston University’s special COVID-19 website. Questions are being answered there by specific departments in a timely fashion. Thank you.
—Doug Most, executive editor, BU Today
Quote of the day:
Please continue to send your amazing Love and prayers. Sing his songs. Stay home and wash hands. John loves you. I love you.
Stat of the day:
Sargent offers physical therapy via Zoom
Remote classes and virtual cocktail parties may be the most common Zoom activities across the country at the moment, but creative use of the online meeting platform has soared among coronavirus shut-ins. Now you can add physical therapy to the services available to the BU community via the cloud platform.
“Over the past two weeks, we have worked tirelessly to transition our care online with secured, HIPAA-protected Zoom and Microsoft Teams to communicate with each other and with our patients,” says Emma Zeligson (Sargent’16,’18), a Rehabilitation Physical Therapy Center physical therapist at the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Ryan Center for Sports Medicine.
The result, Zeligson says, is “excellent continuation of care for all current patients as we are observing, demonstrating, and providing feedback on appropriate postures and exercises.”
Just ask Dori Hutchinson (Sargent’85,’96), BU Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation director of services, who injured some ligaments in November and reaggravated them in January.
“I have been seeing Emma Zeglison at the Ryan Center since February, and she has been guiding me to heal,” says Hutchinson, a Sargent associate clinical professor. “When we were all sent home to shelter in place, Emma reached out to see if I wanted to continue virtually. I have been absolutely all in.
“We check in on how I am doing and then she has me do my exercises while she watches for my form and technique. I take my computer to the living room, put the laptop on my hassock and do the exercises on the living room rug…while she watches.” Even when she’s working out outdoors, Hutchinson says via email, “Emma can help me make adjustments and provide me with the next challenge in my treatment. So it has been very different, but just as helpful and effective. I am able to continue my healing process that started in person, with a little technology and a lot of environmental creativity.”
The BU community’s huge migration to work-at-home status has also meant new challenges for physical therapists. “People are working at their dining room tables, on the floor, on their couch,” Zeligson says. “This change in work environment and change in sitting postures can sometimes cause discomfort and interfere with their ability to work. We want people to know we are here to help modify their ‘new’ workstations and provide education on exercises/stretches they can perform to prevent discomfort.”
PT-by-Zoom has worked so well that the center has set up BUPTC Live, where prospective patients can call front desk staff to do their intake paperwork and immediately transition to one of the therapists standing by ready to take a new evaluation. This means little to no wait time for patients in pain to start PT.
Good deed (overseas division)
There are a variety of efforts underway in the BU community to get needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline medical personnel in the fight against COVID-19 locally. The same thing is happening overseas. Last Wednesday, 68 Terriers in Jakarta, Indonesia, contributed to purchase 200 PPE sets, including masks, hazmat suits, surgical gowns, gloves, goggles, and boots.
The goal was reached in five hours by a drive spearheaded by Didit Ratam (Questrom’00), Indriena Basarah (CAS’89), Evi Trisna (Wheelock’00), Nancy Gondomulia (Questrom’94), and Irma Lengkong (Questrom’89). The in-kind donation will be made to four local hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
Global Days of Service moves online
You can volunteer your time and still keep your social distance. While BU has canceled all in-person Global Days of Service volunteer sites because of concerns about coronavirus, the University encourages the BU community to volunteer independently or for an online project. Over the past decade, BU faculty, students, alumni, and staff have volunteered for their communities during the monthlong event, held each April. In 2019 alone, more than 2,500 volunteers performed over 18,800 hours of service in 159 cities.
Boston and Beyond News
MBTA service updates
The T has further altered service to support social distancing and protect the health of riders and workers. The changes allow for only travel that is absolutely necessary and prioritizes transit for essential workers, such as hospital staff and emergency responders crucial to fighting COVID-19.
- Customers should board at the rear doors of buses and street-level trolley stops. Seniors and people with disabilities can still board at the front door if needed.
- Stations and vehicles are being cleaned and sanitized with increased frequency.
- Service levels have been adjusted to accommodate ridership levels on each line. All commuter rail lines have reduced service, while most bus and subway lines are operating on Saturday schedules. Find details here.
These plans are based on guidance from public health professionals and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. To learn more about how the MBTA is adjusting in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, see answers to the most frequently asked questions about rider safety and fares.
Governor updates Massachusetts testing statistics
Bay State Governor Charlie Baker said Monday that 10,000 COVID-19 tests were administered in Massachusetts over the weekend. To date, 40,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered through 21 laboratories statewide. He projects the surge in Massachusetts COVID-19 patients needing hospital care will fall sometime between April 7 and 17. He said the state received a new shipment of personal protective equipment from the federal stockpile over the weekend, and the federal Office of Health and Human Services has approved the commonwealth’s request for an additional 1,000 ventilators.
The governor also discussed unemployment coverage changes under the CARES Act passed by Congress, which could help many freelancers and other gig workers. This legislation would provide unemployment insurance to many who do not meet state requirements for assistance (types of independent contractors, claimants who did not meet base salary, claimants who have exhausted state benefits). States are still waiting on federal guidance on how to distribute these funds, so the application portal is not yet open.
Baker said as well that he expects to decide Tuesday about extending the essential-businesses-only order keeping many Bay State workers at home through April 7.
US & Global News
Olympics pushed back a full year
The 2020 Summer Olympics will now start in Tokyo on July 23—2021. The International Olympic Committee announced the change Monday, saying that pushing the start back a full year because of COVID-19 will allow organizers and athletes alike the best chance to prepare for the event. Tickets will remain valid, but full refunds will be given to those who can no longer attend.
Latest count of coronavirus cases
United States, 159,931; Massachusetts, 5,752.
Find BU Today’s latest coverage of the pandemic here. The University’s hotline for faculty, staff, students, and visiting scholars to call for referral of their virus-related medical concerns is 617-358-4990.