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UBC med students organize protective-gear donations for front-line COVID-19 workers

Click to play video: 'New system to help with supplies of personal protective equipment' New system to help with supplies of personal protective equipment
The B.C. government is setting up a new system to address the looming shortage of personal protection equipment for health care workers. Grace Ke reports. – Apr 1, 2020

A group of medical students at the University of British Columbia is working to collect personal protective equipment for hospital staff and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has warned that the province is dealing with a higher “burn rate,” or consumption rate, than expected on surgical masks, respirators and other gear, and that B.C. needs more resources to keep front-line workers safe.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: B.C. stands by medical masks being ‘paramount’ for frontline workers' Coronavirus outbreak: B.C. stands by medical masks being ‘paramount’ for frontline workers
Coronavirus outbreak: B.C. stands by medical masks being ‘paramount’ for frontline workers – Apr 1, 2020

The need for personal protective equipment has led to a flood of Good Samaritans gathering and donating gear, including a group of medical students who have collected extra personal protective equipment from professionals like oral surgeon Dr. Ken Chow.

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“[It] is a great grassroots thing that these students are doing,” said Chow, who donated boxes of gloves and much-needed masks.
“I think it’s awesome and it will hopefully [inspire] others to give, I hope, throughout the province wherever they have masks and gloves and other protective equipment.”

Eric Esslinger is part of the group of UBC medical students who started the initiative after recognizing the growing need for PPE.

READ MORE: Tech sector to help B.C. acquire personal protective gear

“Every donation is important, it doesn’t matter how small,” he said. “It’s still worth the effort even if it’s a few boxes of gloves.”

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The students have been able to help 10 area hospitals. They now plan to reach out to research laboratories and businesses to keep the momentum going.

Anyone who is interested in donating can find more information below:

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