Before entering the room of a COVID-19 patient, the Rev. Peggy Kelley dons personal protective gear — both physical and spiritual.

Although hospital chaplains are primarily tasked with supporting the sick and their loved ones, the pandemic has thrust them into new territory: caring for the caregivers.

The Rev. Jeffrey Scheer girds himself with a three-part centering routine that begins before the Lutheran chaplain sets foot in Hoag Hospital. Strengthened from an early-morning devotional, the 59-year-old prays during his roughly 12-minute commute to work each day. As he enters the hospital office in Newport Beach, his eyes land on a painting of Jesus rescuing a lost sheep, from the biblical parable of the good shepherd.