Washington National Cathedral donates 5,000 respirator masks to DC hospitals
© Danielle E. Thomas/Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday donated 5,000 respirator masks found in storage to two D.C. hospitals to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The cathedral said it sent 3,000 masks to Georgetown University Hospital and 2,000 to Children’s National Hospital. Some masks were retained for pastoral care needs.

“In these difficult and trying times, the Cathedral community is doing everything we can to help protect the most vulnerable among us from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic,” Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of the cathedral, said in a statement.

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“We have made significant adjustments to our worship programs and made church services available for streaming online, and now we’re prepared to take this additional, proactive step to ensure thousands have access to protection that otherwise may never have been available to them,” he added.

The cathedral will also host a blood drive with American Red Cross on Friday to help local patients fight the coronavirus.

Children’s National confirmed that the masks were delivered Wednesday. Georgetown University Hospital is supposed to receive them later in the day.

“We are overwhelmed by how many generous people and organizations have reached out to us and we want to thank the Washington National Cathedral for their donation of N95 masks today,” a Children’s National spokeswoman said in a statement to The Hill. “This donation will help our medical teams safely deliver care to those who rely on us the most.”

The masks were originally purchased by the cathedral to allow the clergy to provide pastoral care during a previous health scare. More than a decade later, the masks were found in a storage space on the cathedral’s crypt level. Cathedral staff then contacted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that the masks were safe to use.

The cathedral’s discovery of the respirator masks and subsequent donation was first reported by The Washington Post.

As of Wednesday, there were 187 confirmed coronavirus cases and two deaths in the nation’s capital, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. One of D.C.’s first coronavirus cases was treated at Georgetown University Hospital at the beginning of March.