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Posted on: May 6, 2020

County of Maui partners with local companies to produce emergency ventilators for COVID-19 response

Mayor Michael Victorino unveiled newly manufactured emergency ventilators produced on Maui by HNu Photonics to help increase Maui County’s emergency healthcare capacity.

The ventilators are part of a joint effort between the County of Maui, Maui Economic Development Board and two local technology companies: HNu Photonics, led by Dr. Dan O’Connell; and Maui Innovation Group, led by Dr. Ned Davis.

The ventilators will be donated to Maui Memorial Medical Center and other healthcare providers for emergency COVID-19 response.

“These ventilators are critical to treat people in upper respiratory distress, including those suffering from COVID-19,” Mayor Victorino said. “I thank Dr. O’Connell and Dr. Davis for stepping up to take on this incredible challenge. Now, our healthcare system will have greater capacity to meet patient needs.”

Maui Health spokesperson Tracy Dallarda said: “We appreciate the mayor and his foresight in arranging for these ventilators that were built in Maui for our Maui community. These ventilators will help us further prepare for our future needs.”

HNu Photonics has manufactured 40 bridge ventilators, with guidance from medical experts. Dr. O’Connell said they moved quickly to fully develop and manufacture the ventilators.

“We are now receiving requests coming in from San Diego, New York, Maine and multiple countries including the U.K., India and Mexico,” Dr. O’Connell said. “We literally stopped work on our NASA contracts to develop this life support medical instrument to support Maui County’s needs to fight the coronavirus.”

“It has been a major effort, long days and weekends,” Dr. O’Connell said. “However my entire staff are very proud to support the local community with life support equipment in response to the urgent need.”

Dr. Davis said Maui Innovation Group is in the process of building 24 emergency ventilators for local medical providers. The company plans to have about a dozen completed by the end of this week, with the remaining hopefully ready by next week.

"We’ve been on conference calls every day, including Easter Sunday, working on these ventilators," said Dr. Davis, Founder and CEO of Maui Innovation Group. "We wanted to be ready if there is a second wave of COVID-19 in Maui County, especially with how rural our community is with places like Hana, Molokai and Lanai. It’s truly been a fascinating process and we’re just honored to be involved with this effort to help our healthcare workers.”

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