While new COVID-19 cases remain low, some are preparing for a second surge

Updated: May. 11, 2020 at 10:22 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the state tries to rebuild its economy and start to allow travelers back in, many believe a second surge of coronavirus cases is likely.

“I would be very surprised if we didn’t have a second surge,” said Dr. Michael Shea, a physician in the Intensive Care Unit at Maui Memorial Medical Center.

He says although there are currently no COVID-19 patients at the hospital on ventilators, newly manufactured ones delivered on Monday will serve as backup if round two comes.

“In the event that we have a significant surge like you’ve seen in some of the major cities in the mainland, this provides us with backup to able to take care of a large surge of patients,” Shea said.

Maui County spent $100,000 to purchase 64 newly manufactured ventilators – all made by Maui engineers, Science and technology company HNu Photonics made 40.

Engineering firm Maui Innovation Group is in the process of making 24 more.

“The mayor’s office contacted us to see if we could build some ventilators,” said Devin Ridgley, chief biologist at HNU Photonics. “We’re a technology company, so we said we’d definitely give it a try.”

Ridgley said they are now getting phone calls from all over the world to help increase their supply.

“We want to make sure that we save as many lives as possible," Ridgley said.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said it is a great step in diversifying the economy and putting Maui on the map.

“The way they can produce it and make it another industry here in Maui County excites me tremendously,” said Victorino. “This is one of many, many small pieces of the puzzle that’s going to make Maui a better place in the future."

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