Thousands of surgical masks and N95 masks are on their way to Eagle Ridge Hospital after a Coquitlam entrepreneur answered the call for help to ensure frontline health care workers have personal protective equipment while they cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jonathon Karelse, Coquitlam resident and CEO of NorthFind Management, was able to secure 10,000 surgical masks and 5,000 N95 masks from China from his supply chain contacts to donate to the Port Moody hospital.
A supply chain management consultant, Karelse also sits on the board of the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation and learned of the challenges local health care workers may face in the coming days as more people with COVID-19 symptoms may show up at the hospital.
These masks will be delivered to frontline health care workers at ERH Thursday and the supply of 15,000 masks will last about a month, according to Karelse.
“Being able to leverage a supply connection and localize a global supply chain to have an impact here is very satisfying,” Karelse told The Tri-City News.
He said he was able to add masks to an order that was coming from Asia through his connections, and is making the donation as a way to help the hospital and the foundation.
Dr. Mike Mostrenko, an ER physician, welcomed the contribution, saying in an email to The Tri-City News: "There is a beautiful harmony when at a time of crisis the community steps up to support their local hospital. The current CoVid 19 crisis has put an incredible strain on everyone, especially our health care workers.
“Personal protective equipment is at the core of their safety and well-being. It is heart-warming to receive this incredible gift of surgical masks from Jonathon Karelse. The need for this critical piece of protective equipment is unprecedented at this time. I know that this gift will make an important impact on the safety of our health care team over the weeks and months to come.”
Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation is also pleased with the mask donation and executive director Charlene Giovannetti-King said she hopes others in the community will consider contributing to the hospital at this time.
“We’ve joined the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by launching the new 'Emergency Needs during the COVID-19 Response Fund,' where you can direct donations to patients and staff as the impacts of this crisis unfolds within our community. These funds will be distributed to the urgent and areas of greatest need at ERH during this time,” Giovannetti-King said.