Heartfelt kōkua to keep everyone safe

Posted on Apr 30, 2020 in Capitol Connection, Featured
A volunteer assembles PPE purchased by the state Department of Health.

A volunteer assembles PPE purchased by the state Department of Health.

Helping hands for PPE – For a second time in a month, volunteers from across O‘ahu gathered at the Neal Blaisdell Center (NBC) to help assemble personal protective equipment (PPE) purchased by the state Department of Health for front-line healthcare workers. Over 150 volunteers answered the call, representing a wide range of community organizations. The volunteers worked in 11 rooms at the NBC, properly spaced apart so they could practice safe social distancing.

Inmates at several state correctional facilities are sewing thousands of cloth masks for the Department of Public Safety, other agencies and the community.

Inmates at several state correctional facilities are sewing thousands of cloth masks for the Department of Public Safety, other agencies and the community.

Everyone’s making masksInmates at Waiawa Correctional Facility, Kulani Correctional Facility and Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center have been sewing thousands of cloth masks for the Public Safety Department staff, inmates and other state agencies to prevent COVID-19 spread. The project began with the Hawai‘i Correctional Industries (HCI) providing the fabric and sewing machines for the inmates. To donate equipment or supplies, contact HCI at (808) 677-6638 or email [email protected].

FDA-approved hand sanitizersA “sanitizer hui” organized by Governor Ige’s office with KoHana Hawaiian Agricole Rum and other community partners is producing hundreds of gallons of hand sanitizers, donated to first responders and service providers.

KoHana Agricole Rum officials, along with state homelessness coordinator Scott Morishige, delivered hand sanitizers to the Institute of Human Services.

KoHana Agricole Rum officials, along with state homelessness coordinator Scott Morishige, delivered hand sanitizers to the Institute of Human Services.

A by-product of rum distilling is high-proof ethanol, the main ingredient required in FDA-approved sanitizers. So the administration, through an inquiry with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, began providing guidance to KoHana Distillers’ owner Jason Brand, hui volunteers, and the Hawai‘i Agricultural Research Center (HARC) to navigate the FDA’s stringent regulations, with expertise from Kaumana Pharmaceutics. The hui of businesses provided bottles, labels and distribution of the sanitizer.

KoHana has committed to continued production and is working with Governor Ige to create a model in which distilleries across the state can partner to produce FDA-approved sanitizer and disinfectant. “This monumental effort by local business leaders proves that Hawai‘i has the community strength to persevere,” said the governor. “It’s by working together as a community that we will weather this current crisis.”

Read more in the May Capitol Connection newsletter

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