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Howard County Chinese community coming together to provide resources during coronavirus pandemic

When the coronavirus outbreak hit the state of Maryland, the Chinese community in Howard County quickly came together, organizing monetary drives to purchase meals and medical supplies for county medical professionals and first responders.

The Howard County Chinese School in Columbia, the Chinese American Parent Association of Howard County, the Peiying Chinese School in Clarksville, the Howard County Chinese American Doctor Association and the Johns Hopkins University Chinese Student Scholar Association have taken part in organizing drives.

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Some residents within Howard’s Chinese community “have family members in China who just experienced the coronavirus emergency. We know how serious it can be,” said Chao Wu, a Clarksville resident and Board of Education member.

“So when we began to hear some cases in Maryland, we know it could be serious,” Wu said, who had visited family in Wuhan City in China in January. He self-quarantined when he returned home.

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The new coronavirus was first detected in December in Wuhan City, an industrial and transportation hub in central China.

There are three active GoFundMe fundraisers being run by the Howard County Chinese School and the Chinese American Parent Association. In total, the three funds had raised more than $47,000 as of Wednesday morning.

Donations to one of the GoFundMe pages will provide meals from restaurants to Howard County General Hospital staff, and the other two are focused on providing personal protective equipment to local medical professionals, law enforcement and first respsonders.

The Chinese American Parent Association is running two of the GoFundMe fundraisers, said President Jean Xu.

The association has provided two days of meals, 350 meals a day, to Howard County General Hospital. The meals were purchased from local restaurants Yama Sushi in Ellicott City and Main Stage Grille in Woodstock.

By doing so, the association can “support the local restaurants at the same time we purchase meals to show our appreciation to the [Howard County] General Hospital staff,” Xu said.

“We know those staff are working the front lines for us. They are taking care of us, and we want to show our appreciation and we want them to feel beloved because they are really fighting for us,” Xu said.

The association also has donated 9,000 latex gloves and four 1-gallon jugs of hand sanitizer to the Howard County Police Department.

Dr. Jiayan Chen, a Clarksville resident and an internal medicine doctor at the Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Anne Arundel County, is working directly with confirmed coronavirus patients and those who are suspected to have the virus.

Chen said she is appreciative of her community to come together, donating supplies and funds to help medical professionals and first responders stay safe.

“I am so touched; it’s been very touching. We’re not fighting this alone. We have a whole community of people supporting us and are so loving,” Chen said. “We will definitely defeat this virus. The community is giving us a lot of strength.”

Chen’s church, Columbia Chinese Baptist Church in Ellicott City, contacted her and donated 380 N95 face masks and nearly 1,100 surgical masks to Baltimore Washington Medical Center.

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“[On Monday], I received 20 face shields made by [Howard County] middle and high school students,” Chen said.

The students made around 200 face shields, following a model from Johns Hopkins University, Chen said. The rest of them went to Howard County General Hospital.

From reading the news about the coronavirus spreading in China and because many Howard residents have family in China, Chen said she and other residents have had a little more sense of how the virus was working before the United States outbreak.

“As a Chinese population, we feel it is our responsibility to help doctors and family members fight against this virus,” Chen said.

“We want everyone to be well.”

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