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Families with medically fragile children beg people to stop hoarding cleaning supplies

After the coronavirus outbreak, cleaning supplies that families depend on to care for their medically fragile children have disappeared off the shelves

ATLANTA — Families with medically fragile children have been frustrated by the run on supplies for coronavirus. These are items that they use every day to keep their children safe. 

Items like Clorox wipes, bleach, distilled water -- all of which have disappeared from store shelves in recent days -- they are items that these families use every day to keep their kids safe. 

They just simply have not been available because everyone else is stockpiling them. 

These families use bleach to clean medical equipment. They need adult-sized diapers and wipes for older kids and masks simply to go out in public. 

They have been completely unable to locate these items in stores in recent days. 

Katie McKoy says she has been very direct when seeing people with shopping carts loaded with hand sanitizer or Clorox wipes. 

RELATED: Live updates: Coronavirus in Georgia

"There are very fragile senior citizens, people with blood disorders, children," she said. "You're putting their lives at risk from your hoarding behavior, please, I beg of you, stop." 

Two of McKoy's children use ventilators at home and she has not been able to find the distilled water required to fill them since the coronavirus outbreak began in earnest. 

"Not having hand sanitizer, not having bleach, not having wipes, puts our children's lives in danger from all of the other viruses that are in the community and it's potentially life-threatening for them," she said. 

Parishioners at Crossroads Church were able to find two bottles of distilled water for her kids.

"It means my kids can keep breathing and stay safe," McKoy said. 

She says the entire special needs community is pulling together to try and help each other get the supplies each family needs the most.

"We are trying to pull together our resources, and say, I have this, what do you need? And trying to work together," she said. 

RELATED: Local distillery asks for support to meet demand for hand sanitizer production

Katie spends most of her days now worried her family and others in the same position won't be able to get what they need.

"This is keeping me up at night, I can't sleep, I can't eat, I'm just terrified of what's going to happen," McKoy said. 

It's not the virus itself that makes her nervous, it's what happens if her kids need help?

"My kids aren't necessarily at higher risk from the virus according to the data, my kids are at greater risk if they can't get access to their healthcare providers," she said. "If they get sick with something else or have another emergency."

She says she understands people want to do whatever they can to keep their own families safe, but also to think of others in the checkout line.

RELATED: Tracking COVID-19: Georgia Coronavirus Interactive map

"If you want to have control over this situation, stay home. Stop having play dates, stop going to the park, stay home and follow what the CDC and our President, and the governor is saying," McKoy said. "Listen to our leaders. Please. Your life depends upon it and the lives of so many of those people depend on it."

She says churches and local foodbanks are working to distribute the items in highest demand to the families who need them most - so if you have extra Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, distilled water, or diapers - those are the places that can get it to the families in need the fastest.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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