Amid coronavirus outbreak, Wuhan-born woman raising funds to send medical supplies home

A box of masks imported from Japan sits inside a Yifeng Pharmacy in Wuhan, China, January 22, 2020. AP Photo/Dake Kang

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.

READ MORE: Canada preparing after health officials say coronavirus will ‘likely’ hit country

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

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.

READ MORE: Risk of British Columbians contracting Wuhan coronavirus is ‘very low’: BC CDC

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.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: What we know so far' Coronavirus outbreak: What we know so far
Coronavirus outbreak: What we know so far – Jan 24, 2020

No cases have been confirmed in Canada, where health officials say the risk is “very low.”

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Sponsored content