Huaxia Chinese School – Lehigh Valley donated more than $33,000 worth of medical masks to healthcare providers in the Lehigh Valley, taking initiative in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Located at the Northampton Community College main campus in Bethlehem, Huaxia Chinese School took interest in the issue of depleting medical supplies when the coronavirus hit China in late January.
Yi Cai, president of the Huaxia Chinese school, said many parents of students at the school are medical professionals.
“They had been searching for these medical supplies back then when China started to have the coronavirus outbreak,” Cai said. “So, they bought some from Japan and from all around the world to support China.”
When the coronavirus reached the United States and, more specifically, the Lehigh Valley area, Huaxia Chinese School decided to approach the suppliers about obtaining medical supplies to support the local community.
Cai said parents of the students reported the shortage of medical supplies and “the danger of the situation they were running under” through WeChat, a Chinese social media platform.
“We asked the hospitals, ‘How could we help?’ Cai said. “One thing they highlighted on the top of their list is called the face mask with certification of the N95. That’s the one that they really need the most. There’s a clear shortage. So that’s where we focused our effort.”
The N95 mask, the highest quality mask in the world made in Japan, is a part of the provision protection equipment (PPE), said Dr. Gary Lu, a medical oncologist at St Luke’s University Hospital.
Lu said these supplies are crucial for up-front healthcare workers. He said he believes the N95 masks will play a big difference in the ER teams, the urgent care and the ICU teams.
“They’re very important and definitely going to help the patient care and plus, protect the health care providers,” Lu said.
Dr. Chun Chu, resident physician in the department of neurology at Lehigh Valley Hospital, became involved in the fundraising at the Huaxia Chinese School through his daughter, who is a student there.
Chu said it is too early to tell how significant the effects of the donation will be.
“Right now, we still have enough (masks) , but we can foresee we’re going to maybe need more masks or more medical supplies in the near future,” Chu said.
Forty percent of the Huaxia Chinese School’s donations went to St. Luke’s University Hospital — another 40 percent went to Lehigh Valley Health Network, and 20 percent went to Easton Hospital.
Cai said the donations are “just a drop in the bucket.”