Nfld. & Labrador

Calling on nail salons, construction contractors and veterinarians to help fight COVID-19's spread

Medical students have launched a drive to collect masks, gowns and gloves for front-line health-care workers fighting COVID-19.

N.L. medical students leaving no stone unturned to collect protective equipment for front-line health workers

Medical students are asking businesses, such as nail salons, to donate personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, for health-care workers fighting COVID-19. (CBC )

Medical students in Newfoundland and Labrador have launched a drive to collect personal protective equipment for the fight against COVID-19.

They're gathering masks, gowns and gloves for front-line health-care workers risking exposure to the potentially deadly virus.

"They need this equipment to stay healthy and do their work helping people who have become infected with the virus," said Aanchal Ralhan​​​​​​, one of the group's organizers.

The students know they're up against fear and uncertainty that's pushing some people to hoard what they have. So, they're looking well beyond health-care providers.

"We've been reaching out to veterinary clinics, places like nail salons. We've been trying to think outside the box.… Some restaurants have some gloves and things," said Ralhan.

Aanchal Ralhan is a medical student in St. John's helping to collect protective equipment for health-care workers who may be exposed to COVID-19. (Submitted Aanchal Ralhan)

The students say a shortage of equipment such as masks and gloves could be disastrous, leaving front-line workers unable to do their jobs and ultimately, resulting in further spreading of the disease. They say shortages are already happening in other parts of Canada and the U.S.

"Health-care professionals are having to reuse masks and other PPE meant for one-time use, putting them at a greater risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19," said Ralhan.

"We want to prevent this from happening in our community,"

The group of medical students say they've already collected 900 pairs of gloves, but they'll need more protective equipment as well, like masks. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

The group has already collected 900 pairs of gloves. They say it's going to become more important to get protective equipment to the people who need it most, as the total number of people infected and hospitalized in this province grows.

On Sunday, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province's chief medical officer of health, announced 15 new cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 135.

Seven of those cases have required hospitalization and two of them are receiving care in intensive-care units.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

About the Author

Mark Quinn

CBC News

Mark Quinn is a videojournalist with CBC's bureau in St. John's.