Aid for Washington Hospital in Fremont, CA: Each Mask Counts

Northwest  |  April 13, 2020
Angus Cochran, Executive Director of the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation (left) greeted Tzu Chi volunteers and accepted the donations..Photo by Renee Liu

Written by Renee Liu
Translated by Diana Chang
Edited by Ida Eva Zielinska

In Northern California’s San Francisco Bay Area, six counties in Silicon Valley implemented a shelter-in-place order until May 3. As a result, most businesses closed, and residents are now following the directive to stay-at-home. Traffic in Silicon Valley is usually congested, but since these measures took effect, it flows smoothly.

While roads in the area may be less crowded, the situation inside local hospitals is the opposite, with overworked healthcare staff struggling to cope with a heavy influx of COVID-19 patients. To make matters worse, a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) is putting these frontline heroes at a higher risk of infection. Tzu Chi volunteers have been actively addressing the dearth of PPE in San Francisco Bay Area hospitals, through distributions. 

Preparing to hand over the donation, Tzu Chi volunteer Tony Yang readied a receipt for the hospital to sign.. Photo by Renee Liu
Photo by Renee Liu

Tzu Chi Northwest Region received 5,000 N95 respirators purchased from China by Tzu Chi USA National Headquarters, and 10,000 surgical masks donated by Tzu Chi volunteers in China. The first step in preparing the items for distribution was disinfecting the exterior of the boxes, which was done by general affairs staff member Yuhan Tsai.

Next, volunteers took inventory, then divided and repacked the items for delivery to ten designated hospitals. Once the distributions of critical PPE began, nothing would stand in the way, as the volunteers who delivered supplies to Washington Hospital in Fremont under heavy rain can attest.

Washington Hospital is currently treating COVID-19 patients and suspected patients, but due to privacy protection regulations, the hospital can’t disclose the exact number of cases.

Tzu Chi volunteer Sara Tsai called the contact person at the hospital prior to the delivery team’s arrival. Angus Cochran, Executive Director of the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation personally came out to greet Tzu Chi volunteers.
He then signed for a total of 2,600 medical masks from Tzu Chi USA and took possession of 600 N95 respirators, and 2,000 surgical masks for Washington Hospital.

Angus Cochran Executive Director, Washington Hospital (left) with Tzu Chi Volunteer Tony Yang Photo by Renee Liu

On behalf of all of our doctors and nurses I just want to thank the [Buddhist] Tzu Chi Foundation for the generous donation of masks. They will be put to use right away and we really are very grateful to everybody for thinking about our patients this way. Thank you.

Such supplies make a world of difference in helping to protect those on the frontlines of treating COVID-19 patients.

We had tremendous support from the community of people to be making donations of masks and gloves and protective equipment and we just want to thank everybody for everything that they're doing to keep us in their thoughts. We hope everyone is staying home and sheltering in place, and we will see you when all this is over and we can celebrate together.

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