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Going the extra mile: companies shift to support their communities

By Patty Carr | June 1, 2020 | 4 min read | Community Health

At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), we’ve seen our employer groups adapt to extraordinary circumstances.

Many of these organizations have made business changes at an unprecedented pace. In a COVID-19 world, many of them have had to shut down their business temporarily. Others have shifted to allow employees to work from home. Still, they are stepping up to help communities in crisis.

We’re proud to see Blue Cross NC clients donating supplies, funding relief efforts, and helping produce medical supplies. Here are just a few examples of how our clients are putting their communities first.

Making protective equipment

When speaking with Piedmont Plastics (a Blue Cross NC client since 2005), I learned that one of their locations was providing supplies for face shields. Medical workers are using these shields at a local hospital and at testing sites. One of their organizations is also making the plastic barriers you may be seeing at your local grocery store.

Companies like Piedmont Plastics are juggling what is best for their employees, their customers and the community. Their change in manufacturing efforts are helping all of us impacted by this pandemic.

Creating breakthrough technologies

Another employer group that is helping to protect Americans is Coats American, Inc. Coats has developed the world’s first anti-microbial thread, which provides protection from microbes and bacteria. These threads can be used in hospital beds, lifting aids, gloves, and masks.

The CDC is encouraging people wear face masks to limit the spread of COVID-19. Coats is one of many companies producing the materials necessary for medical-grade masks.

Supporting their employees

Many essential groups are working to find a balance between providing services to the community and keeping their employees safe.

For example, Cleveland County has continually increased the number of employees working remotely. They’ve also alternated shifts to allow for increased social distancing. The company also offers advanced sick pay and has extended 160 hours sick pay to all employees.

The group has also offered childcare at the YMCA to essential employees needing this support. They’ve taken on half the cost to reduce parents’ financial burden, too.

Final thoughts

Here at Blue Cross NC, nearly 100% of our workforce is working from home to limit the spread of COVID-19. We, too, are continually looking for creative ways to support our people.

While our country and our state brace for an influx of patients needing medical care, I encourage you to “look for the helpers.” Let’s do our part by uplifting others through this stressful, anxiety-filled time, and spread optimism! Do what you can to supporting your local small businesses and restaurants. And most importantly, take precautions if you go outside. The faster we put COVID-19 behind us, the faster we will be back to our normal, fast-paced lifestyles.