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Napa vintner Eric Yuan donates thousands of medical masks to China hospitals by SARAH KLEARMAN18/02/2020  

An Acumen Napa Valley worker loads palates of medical masks onto trucks, which transported them to Los Angeles International Airport. The masks were flown to China on Feb. 8; and will be distributed to a hospital in Wuhan, the home of Acumen Napa Valley founder Eric Yuan. 

A Napa vintner with roots in the Chinese city of Wuhan has donated 12,000 medical masks to one of the city’s hospitals.

Acumen Napa Valley founder Eric Yuan, for which Wuhan is “home base”, this week orchestrated the donation, according to Diana Schweiger, Acumen’s sales and marketing director.

Wuhan, located in China’s Hubei Province, is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. As of Feb. 12, the virus is said to have infected more than 45,000 people and killed more than 1,110 individuals worldwide.

As China enforces a transportation lockdown on impacted regions, including Wuhan, movement in and out of cities has slowed – and the availability of basic medical supplies, like the masks donated by Acumen, has dipped, Schweiger said. She’s been coordinating with Yuan, currently in Wuhan, where he lives with his wife and children, to have the masks delivered directly to hospitals in the city.

“Nobody has them,” Schweiger said in an interview of the 12,000 donated N95 Respirator Masks, which are recommended for health workers in proximity to the virus by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Acumen worked with SF Express, China’s largest parcel delivery company, to get the masks to Wuhan, she said.

In the wake of the outbreak, airlines operating out of Bay Area airports have cancelled scheduled flights to China, forcing Acumen to fly their shipment out of Los Angeles, according to Schweiger. The winery, which owns two vineyards on Atlas Peak, worked with one of their wine carriers to ship the two large palates containing the masks to Los Angeles International Airport, where they were shipped to China on Feb. 8.

“Because of (Eric’s) deep roots in Wuhan, we are in a unique position to quickly provide these masks to some of the people who need them the most urgently,” Schweiger said in a press release.

Yuan is a developer in the country and runs a business with more than 500 employees there, she said in an interview.

Acumen will also donate 50% of its proceeds from online sales as well as sales from its downtown tasting room, the winery announced in a press release. Schweiger noted that the money will be used to purchase more supplies in the United States so they can ultimately be shipped to Wuhan. Very limited stock of medical goods is available in the city, Yuan told Schweiger.

“There’s nothing to buy,” Schweiger said, relaying word from Yuan. “We’ll buy things here and then ship it to the Red Cross there. We have the resources to get more over there, now that we’ve figured out the system.”

The masks will be delivered to the Wuhan Tongji Hospital, the press release said.

“(It’s about) saving lives,” Schweiger added, of the winery’s donation. “(The situation) is just heart-wrenching.”