As hospitals in Wuhan, China, struggle to cope with the coronavirus outbreak and a shortage of medical supplies, a Prince George, B.C., woman is fundraising to help her hometown.
Vicki Larsen has raised about $1,000 for medical supplies she plans to send back home, after sending out an appeal for donations on social media.
She said it’s heartbreaking to see pictures of packed hospitals, and hearing stories of people being turned away.
“It’s pretty sad because we do keep in touch with everyone. I’m sure everyone would do that, if that’s your hometown,” she told Global News on Saturday.
Larsen said she is gathering the supplies she’s bought with the money raised and sending them to friends in Vancouver, who will then send them off to Wuhan.
But she said hospitals in the city, which is under lockdown due to the outbreak, will need plenty more supplies after that.
“They are really in desperate need of the medical supplies, such as masks, coveralls and all the personal protection equipment,” she said.
Those who wish to send donations to Larsen can do so through email transfers, with more information available on her Facebook page.
While Larsen has plenty of family and friends living in Wuhan, she said nobody she knows has contracted the virus.
The coronavirus has killed at least 41 people in the region, and has spread to many countries, including Australia, Malaysia, Japan, France and the U.S.
No cases have been confirmed in Canada, where health officials say the risk is “very low.”
However, some are predicting the virus will “likely” make its way over to Canada, and health authorities are making preparations in case it arrives.
Those preparations include developing quicker tests to determine if people are sick with this specific coronavirus, rather than another respiratory illness.
Extra security measures are being taken at major airports in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, where international travellers are being asked about their travels to Wuhan and their contacts there.