Alphabet’s Verily debuts a COVID-19 community testing toolkit as it scales its own testing efforts

While the origins of its coronavirus testing program were muddled by President Trump’s misleading announcements attributing its efforts to Google and inflating its scale, Alphabet’s Verily health sciences subsidiary has established and grown its community-based California testing initiative, deploying drive-up testing sites and ramping the number of tests completed from just over 1,200 last Wednesday to over 3,700 as of Saturday.

The Verily team detailed its progress in a new blog post, and CNBC reported last week that it has brought on 1,000 new volunteers from Google and other Alphabet companies to help increase its testing efforts and bring testing sites to new areas. In total, there are four testing sites in operation across California, which took two weeks to set up.

That’s a lot accomplished in not a lot of time, and Verily now wants to pass on the benefits of its experience and lessons learned. It put together guidelines and resources for anyone else looking to set up a community-based testing initiative (assuming they have access to qualified laboratories, testing supplies and healthcare professionals) and provided them for anyone to download.

The guide includes various documents, including workflows for everyone involved in the drive-through testing process, as well as the type of personal protective equipment needed, and how to organize and deploy on-site staff. There’s even full testing signage kits ready for download and printing.

These guide materials were created by Verily’s Project Baseline team, working in partnership with California’s Department of Public Health and other state governing and regulatory bodies, and they represent input from Stanford Medicine as well. Overall, the guide is intended as a way to help Verily spread the benefit of its experience, at a pace that it just can’t match via its own efforts to scale.

The company is definitely still looking to scale its own testing sites, however, and to launch new ones. This guide could help others make the most of its experience as it does so, though they’ll require a lot of access to specialized resources to replicate, even with the benefit of information shared by a team with first-hand knowledge of the challenges that mobile COVID-19 testing entails.

Atlassian’s Confluence gets a new template gallery

Confluence, Atlassian’s content-centric collaboration tool for teams, is making it easier for new users to get started with the launch of an updated template gallery and 75 new templates. They incorporate what the company has learned from its customers and partners since it first launched the service back in 2004.

About a year ago, Atlassian gave Confluence a major makeover, with an updated editor and advanced analytics. Today’s update isn’t quite as dramatic but goes to show that Confluence has evolved from a niche wiki for technical documentation teams to a tool that is often used across organizations today.

Today, about 60,000 customers are using Confluence daily and the new templates reflect the different needs of these companies. The new template gallery will make it easier to find the specific template that makes sense for your business, with new search tools, filters and previews that you can find in the right-hand panel of your Confluence site.

The updated gallery features new templates for design, marketing and HR teams, for example. Working with partners, Atlassian also added templates like a job description guide from Indeed and a design system template from InVision, as well as similar use case-specific templates from HubSpot, Optimizely and others. Since most tasks take more than one template, Atlassian is also launching collections of templates for accomplishing more complex tasks around developing marketing strategies, HR workflows, product development and more.

Stocks shoot upward as ‘Phase Three stimulus passes Senate and unemployment skyrockets

Stocks soared on Thursday even as the US reported its worst unemployment numbers in fifty years of tracking data.

The pain felt on Main Street is offset for investors by the Federal government opening its wallet to Wall Street, businesses and (at some point) workers in the form of the $2 trillion stimulus package designed as a response to business closures as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Details of the plan and its implications for startup companies are still being assessed, but the spigot is now on for businesses large and small to avail themselves of low interest stimulus loans and financing that should keep them afloat even as prolonged shutdowns look to continue in the nation’s most populous cities.

Here’s the tale of the tape:

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: jumped 6.38%, or 1,351.62 to close at 22,552.17
  • S&P 500: popped 6.24%, or 154.51, to close at 2,630.07
  • Nasdaq Composite: bounced 5.60%, or 413.24, to close at 7,797.54

Tech stocks followed the broader markets and posted gains on the day. Facebook was up nearly 4.5% and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) was up 5.5%. Shares of Apple were up over 5% as well and Amazon rose 3% on the day.