The Hawaii Science Technology Museum (HSTM) has launched a coordinated effort to produce 3D-printed personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare providers and first responders in Hawaii County amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The shields are in short supply and workers could be ill-prepared without additional equipment should case numbers spike.

PISCES, NexTech, the Maunakea observatories and several local robotics teams have joined the effort which will provide protective face shields for staff at Hilo Medical Center. Christian Wong, Director of HSTM and a Hawaii County firefighter, says the face shields will help protect workers against infection during exams and medical procedures while extending the life of their N95 masks.

Hawaii County has seen 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of April 1. Statewide, there are more than 230 confirmed cases. Gov. David Ige has responded to the pandemic by ordering a mandatory 14-day quarantine for inbound visitors to the state as well as inter-island travelers, and a statewide shelter-in-place order for all residents through April 30.