SAN RAFAEL, Calif. - In the parking lot of the Bon Air Shopping Center in Marin County Friday, people dropped by to donate N95 masks and gloves to help keep safe the doctors, nurses and health workers on the front lines of the pandemic.
It's important we do as much as we can," said Leigh Ann Townsend of San Rafael who dropped off N95 masks she had ordered for the wildfire season.
The personal protective equipment, or PPE donation drive, is organized by medical students at UC San Francisco. These vital items will go to any Bay area hospital that needs them.
"We are fast running out of these supplies. Even though there are initiatives and campaigns helping out, people in hospitals are just running out of masks," said Alvin Ho.
Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this week said California is working on getting 500 million N95 masks along with gloves and other basic gear. The medical teams must have them now.
"We need this equipment. Otherwise we will all get sick and there will be no one to care for everybody," said UCSF physician Dr. Rebecca Nessel.
One woman donated more than 35,000 masks and hand sanitizer from her company Navitas Organics from Novato.
She says the community is doing what the federal government should have done already.
"The fact we didn't shore up our supplies early enough is really disheartening. And it makes the job of health care workers 100 times harder," said Meghan Adelman.
Nessel says any patient they encounter in a hospital could be infectious.
"Even if it has nothing to do with respiratory illness patients can be carriers. Just like people going to the grocery store and being afraid of the person next to them.Doctors and nurses go to work every day and be close to a lot of people," she said.
And that concern is shared by the spouses of medical workers. Margo Hays is the wife of a pulmonary doctor who specializes in lung transplants.
"This is the first time i am worried about his safety and his health.We talk about what will happen if he gets sick," said Hays.
For all the fears of those in the trenches, there are saving graces, like what's happening in that parking lot.
"This is one of the silver linings of this whole situation. That we are such an amazing community and everyone wants to do their part," said Nessel.
The PPE donation drive resumes Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.