National Cathedral Finds 5,000 Medical Masks That Were Stashed Away in Crypt for 10 Years
The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., just made one holy discovery.
As medical professionals nationwide face an extreme shortage of protective face masks to wear during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, officials at the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul uncovered 5,000 N95 respirator masks in its crypt and donated them to local hospitals.
“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,” the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral, said in a statement on its website.
“We have made significant adjustments to our worship programs and made church services available online,” he added. “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.”
According to the Cathedral, the masks were purchased more than a decade ago in an effort to provide clergy members “pastoral care without putting their own health at risk” during the bird flu outbreak.
When they were not used, they were put in storage. It was only during routine work in a storage area recently that the masks were discovered again.
A total of 22 boxes were donated on Wednesday, cathedral spokespeople said, with 13 boxes containing 3,000 masks to Georgetown University Hospital and nine boxes containing 2,000 masks to Children’s National.
Meanwhile, a small number of masks were retained by the cathedral to facilitate in pastoral care needs.
Prior to the donation, Cathedral officials contacted both the manufacturer as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm they were still safe to use.
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