Bay Area nonprofit sending protective masks, gowns to China amid coronavirus outbreak


SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KRON) — Masks and surgical equipment to treat the coronavirus are in a local and international shortage.

On Friday, the World Health Organization declared a global shortage of the N95 masks and isolation gowns needed to contain the coronavirus.

Now a Bay Area nonprofit, MedShare, is pulling together its partners to send the critical supplies over to China.

Inside the nonprofit’s San Leandro warehouse, they’re packing pallets of supplies for a third shipment to China.

The second shipment is already on its way and arrives on Friday.

“This is a disaster relief. So this is part of what we do all day, everyday, everything from the North Bay wildfires to Hurricane Maria and now for the Coronavirus,” said Eric Talbert, western regional director of MedShare.

MedShare is a humanitarian aid organization that helps gather and send supplies for local, national and global disasters.

Right now, they’re gathering as many masks and isolation gowns as possible to help contain the coronavirus.

“Since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global health emergency two weeks ago, MedShare’s already shipped 2.6 million masks and over 80,000 isolation gowns to China,” he said. “First shipment arrived last week. The second shipment’s gonna arrive this Friday and were working on a third shipment.”

Behind Talbert is another 30,000 procedure masks and 120,000 isolation gowns for a third shipment.

“We have the isolation gowns. Theyre all individually wrapped. These are donated from our partner ASP Global,” he said. “So these are the disposable gowns, the yellow ones with the hoods and the long sleeves that most of us are familiar to seeing due to the ebola outbreak so these are for healthcare professionals.”

MedShare’s most recent shipment includes the procedure masks but not the N95 masks which are needed by medical professionals treating patients with the virus.

The N95 masks are currently in a global shortage and many places like MedShare are fresh out.

“The N95 masks, we’ve run out so that’s part of what were asking our partners and reaching out to other people if you have the N95 masks, but don’t have a way to get them into China. Let alone to partners on ground doing healthcare work they can donate them to us,” he said.

Talbert says local health clinics are also in need of the N95 and procedure masks.

MedShare is also sending some of its supplies to the local health clinics in need.

MedShare created its own coronavirus donation page on its website where you can help if you’d like to get involved.

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