The former Real Housewives star's foundation is working to make masks in conjunction with manufacturers all over the world

By Aurelie Corinthios
March 23, 2020 12:33 PM
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Bethenny Frankel‘s relief efforts continue to surge amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As the virus spreads in the United States and around the globe, the former Real Housewives of New York City star has been doing her part to aid those in need through her disaster relief initiative, BStrong.

Through BStrong and their partner, Global Empowerment Mission, Frankel, 49, has been raising funds to put together what she calls “BStrong corona kits,” with a special focus on delivering masks to medical professionals as the country faces a shortage of supplies.

Her mission began with 10,000 face masks but has quickly skyrocketed, with the reality star and businesswoman revealing to Radio.com on Sunday that she expects to supply over 1 million masks to benefit hospitals that are in limited supply.

Frankel said the masks will be available within the next few days and will go immediately to the medical professionals who need them most.

“Every time there’s a disaster I really hear from my social media followers,” Frankel said. “They’re all over the world, and they let me know what’s going on quicker than the news for me sometimes.”

“I get over a thousand messages a day with people from all over the country — every hospital, every clinic, everyone in a panic and with no supplies,” she continued.

Frankel said she’s using a grid system to decide where her resources are best allocated and is producing the N95 medically-approved masks with the help of five different suppliers.

“We have suppliers all over the world,” she said. “We have suppliers and manufacturers in China, we have an Israeli company we’re working with.”

Credit: Sasha Maslov

PEOPLE exclusively announced last Friday that Frankel and her boyfriend Paul Bernon would be donating 10,000 masks to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. (In 2018, Frankel was hospitalized at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, which is part of Massachusetts General Hospital, after suffering a near-fatal allergic reaction to fish.)

Frankel, who has a home in Boston with Bernon, told PEOPLE that the couple “wired the money for the first orders because this isn’t something that we can wait for donations for.”

“Donations will come, but without the masks, more people will die,” she said. “This is the biggest crisis now in my opinion.”

As of Monday morning, there are now at least 33,018 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, and 428 people in the country have died from coronavirus-related illness.

Credit: Bethenny Frankel/Instagram

Frankel told Radio.com that while she and Bernon are apart — he’s in Florida, and she’s in New York — they are as “connected as ever.”

“We love each other as much as ever,” she said. “There’s no way to pressure each other, obviously, about seeing each other because we know where we’re supposed to be, and there’s something calming about that.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.