(BIVN) – Hawaiʻi is coming together to keep healthcare workers supplied during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hawaii Air National Guard Medical Detachment 1 has been assigned to assist the Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management Coalition with the management of inventory of key medical supplies, the Hawaiʻi Department of Defense reports.
The Hawaiʻi DOD recently released video featuring comments from Master Sgt. Bobby Balmonte, Medical logistics Airmen with Hawaii Air National Guard, Medical Detachment, as well as Chris Crabtree, the Executive Director of Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management.
The video shows how the Airmen also repaired a medical isolation pod, so that it could be returned the inventory and sent off to a medical facility in the state of Hawaii, DOD says.
Meanwhile, two University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa students are creating mask sewing kits with fabric to produce a double-ply cloth mask, designed for people to wear as a preemptive measure against possible asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19.
UH Mānoa PhD students Chris Ketter and Sergey Negrashov are using the UH Mānoa College of Engineering’s FabLab, described as a “self-sustaining space designed for students to fabricate their designs.” The university shared video of the two hard at work over the weekend.
“We’re trying to mass produce kits for face masks, some of them are simple cloth masks, some of them are made for healthcare workers that include a pocket for an N95 respirator. We’re trying to alleviate the shortage of PPE that is plaguing our island,” said Negrashov. “It’s been going very smoothly. We started prototyping on a much smaller laser cutter, but now with a bigger machine, we are able to produce at a rate of 30 seconds for a simple mask and one minute for a more complex mask and we’re hoping to scale production.”
“Today, we hope to produce more than a hundred kits. And, in fact, I got some volunteers that are willing to run this machine when we’re not here so if we can keep fabric flowing, we should be able to pick up production,” said Ketter.
“I don’t like walking around the community and watching our community workers completely unprotected,” Ketter added. “The people that work at the grocery stores and the convenience stores and the Uber drivers, and if there’s something that I can do to help then I don’t want to sit by and do nothing. I have to do something.”