Coronavirus supplies: Bay Area company delivering protective gear to underserved communities

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KGO) -- Some medical gear is in short supply, especially in underserved communities during this coronavirus crisis. But there is one Bay Area nonprofit that is getting those badly needed supplies out the door.

MedShare is usually the "guardian angel" of medical supplies around the world. If there's a tsunami or a hurricane, this nonprofit ships out surplus medical goods donated by hospitals.

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But now the need is in their own backyard. And the surplus of coronavirus supplies has dwindled.

Eric Talbert, MedShare Western Regional Director said, "We are distributing the last of our isolation gowns, the last of our N95 masks and we continue to find as many matches as possible through the end of today for surgical masks and gowns. You don't have any left? No. This is it? This is it. "

Boxes will be picked up Tuesday night by UPS and delivered on Wednesday to 46 clinics in California that serve a vulnerable population including the homeless and the elderly. Twelve of those clinics are right here in the Bay Area including a women and children's shelter in San Leandro and medical clinics in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. Blue Shield of California is funding the distribution of tens of thousands of items.

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Dr. Malaika Stoll with Blue Shield of California said the biggest need is for masks and protective gear for healthcare professionals on the front line who may be impacted by the virus.

MedShare volunteers can no longer show up and due to the disruption in the global supply chain it will be weeks before more N95s are available from Ohio manufacturing facilities and surgical masks and gloves are available from China.

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