As LA County reaches a new high in COVID cases, so does the global demand for medical supplies. Limited access to medical equipment, has left doctors, nurses and frontline workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for COVID-19 patients. As a result, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas recently partnered with Air Premia to donate protective medical gowns.
“I’m glad to partner with the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH) and the (CNHF )—a hospital that has been helping so many people who are suffering from the coronavirus—as well as the non-profit community health clinic in South Los Angeles,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “This is how Los Angeles works. We support each other. Here we are in Koreatown reaching all the way into Southeast Los Angeles and saying, ‘you matter, we care, we have the resources, and we are going to collaborate.”
The Personal protective equipment donation courtesy of the Air Premia company, a new airline in Korea that has plans to launch a route from LAX to Korea in 2021 of next year, was given to MLKCH and CNHF at the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea. Each organization received 100 gowns each.
“Air Premia’s mother company owns a factory that provides medical supplies for coronavirus cases. The company wanted to help out, so they asked us to find the best organization to donate the items to. We thought the County hospital would be best, so I talked to Supervisor Ridley-Thomas to see if they would be willing to take the items and he agreed. Pretty soon they will be sending masks—professional masks for hospital use. They promised to send 10,000 masks, so we will keep helping the community and County hospitals,” stated Air Premia representative, Kee Whan Ha.
One of the donation recipients, CNHF is a full-service Federally Qualified Health Center community provider with access points in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Their clinics provide care to medically underserved areas (MUAs) in Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire, where patient populations endure disproportionate physical and mental suffering and premature death. President and Chief Executive Officer for Central Neighborhood Health Foundation, Dr. Kenneth Orduna had this to say about receiving the receiving the protective gear.
“First of all, I want to thank Air Premia for donating these suits for us and Supervisor for facilitating this donation. As a safety net for the underserved communities in Los Angeles, these suits are going to help us tremendously. It’ll protect our frontline workers. It’ll give a sense of protection that we need. There is currently a shortage of suits. I was just at my medical supply vendor yesterday trying to acquire some suits and they were out. They didn’t know when they were going to get any, so this came in just at the right time, at the right moment, so we will continue to test our folks.”
This donation also represents the partnership between Los Angeles and Korea in taking care of their citizens. “I am the Consulate General of Korea in LA and my duty is to protect Korean Americans here—everything from their health, their education, their leadership—almost everything. There are many Korean Americans here who have US citizenship, some who are also Korean citizens. The Korean government can’t do anything about American society, so if we need something and we have Korean Americans here, we ask LA County to support [us]. I am happy that we are able to be a part of this partnership, to protect Korean Americans and Korean society here from COVID-19,” said Consul General, Kyung Jae Park.