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Public donates masks, other medical supplies to Olympia hospital in need

Donors dropped off masks, surgical gloves and cleaning supplies at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia and Providence Centralia Hospital.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A shortage of personal protective gear for medical professionals is affecting hospitals statewide. But when Providence St. Peter Hospital asked for help this week, the public delivered.

Donors have been dropping off boxes of masks, surgical gloves and cleaning supplies at the Olympia hospital and Centralia Providence after Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin Caserta made a plea on social media Tuesday.

“Right now we are asking for unopened boxes of surgical masks and N-95 masks,” Caserta said in a YouTube video.

Donors included the Doty Fire Department, Oly-Tumwater Dental Care, and Capital Heating and Cooling.

"It inspires me and it fills me with gratitude and I just feel so indebted to be part of this community where we stand up and take care of each other,” said Caserta.

Angela White, with Olympia Master Builders, a building trade association for five counties, dropped off a box of masks at Providence St. Peter Hospital Thursday.

She expected it would not be the last delivery.

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"They were gracious when we did the all call,” said White, “We have several other members who are going through their supply closets to see what they have to donate as well.”

Gov. Jay Inslee ordered Thursday a temporary halt to elective medical and dental surgeries in the state to free up enough protective gear for medical staff working to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The governor’s proclamation affects all hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and dental, orthodontic and endodontic offices in Washington state.

It applies to any non-urgent medical or dental procedure that requires medical professionals to wear personal protective equipment. 

“We know the health care personal protective equipment supply chain in Washington has been severely disrupted by the significant increased use of such equipment worldwide,” Inslee said. “We will do all we can to protect the women and men who protect us.”

RELATED: Gov. Inslee halts elective surgeries, dental procedures to free up supplies to fight coronavirus