Calgarians with family in India feeling helpless as COVID-19 rages
CALGARY -- For the 21st consecutive day over 300,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in India on Wednesday. The country also suffered through its deadliest 24 hours of the pandemic with over 4,200 deaths recorded.
Calgarians with family in hot spots in India say the video and images of the devastation in the country are heartbreaking.
“The word is that people, those who are going to hospital are not going to come back. So the place where you would rely on, people are just afraid to be there,” said Jasvider Virdi, who has family in Delhi.
Many hospitals have been forced to turn away droves of sufferers due to a lack of beds, medicine and oxygen.
Virdi said people are taking to social media to try and secure supplies of oxygen for loved ones.
“Especially in the same city where you have been raised and how all these people are struggling through all those basic necessities, it is not easy.”
Virdi said he’s grieving and feeling helpless. His family is dealing with loss. His mother’s 63-year-old brother and his mother’s 46-year-old cousin both died from COVID-19, one week apart.
“Everybody is devastated.”
Virdi said because of public health guidelines, family in Calgary hasn’t been able to gather to grieve together.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in India have now surpassed 23 million. Experts believe the actual number could be much higher.
DOCTORS PROVIDING VIRTUAL CONSULTATIONS
A group of doctors in Calgary are trying to offer support from this side of the globe.
Dr. Bhavini Gohel, is an acute care physician at the South Health Campus. She is also chair of the medical advisory board for the charity, Child Foundation.
Gohel has informally connected virtually with patients through friends and family experiencing mild symptoms over WhatsApp. The organization is in the process to implement a formal process for virtual consultations. Logistics still need to be sorted out.
“Our hope is that we’re able to provide some form of education to them about when they need to go into hospital the expectation of the disease, the trajectory of the disease itself and what they need to do in terms of isolation precautions.”
Gohel is also involved with the Maya Devi hospital in a rural area through the foundation. Fundraising efforts are underway to provide medical supplies to the hospital. So far 20 oxygen concentration have been purchased. Of those, half have arrived at the hospital.
Gohel said the Calgary Rotary Club also provides support.
“We’ve got momentum but you get to a point where you have to think about how do I make this more sustainable?" said Gohel. "(How do I) give them the tools that they need and the support that they need in the interim, so that eventually when they have a reliable supply channel of everything they can continue doing the work that they need?”
CALGARY MASK MANUFACTURER LOOKING TO DONATE
Ottawa has sent plane loads of ventilators and supplies to India, but local companies also want to help.
“We happen to have a lot of inventory in place,” said Susan Song, with MAKE99.
MAKE99 manufactures disposable high-quality masks. The business wants to donate upward of five million masks to India. So far efforts to find a way to send masks overseas have been unsuccessful.
“We need to help each other to get this unprecedented pandemic, COVID-19 get it under control and we just want to do our part,” said Song.
The company is hopeful they will be able to connect with an organization to send their products to help make a difference in communities where PPE supplies are needed.