HONOLULU (KHON2) — The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers in Hawaii is increasing, and members within the University of Hawaii are working to help supply it.

A UH Manoa professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine and the faculty, students, and staff of the UHM Department of Theatre and Dance are sewing fabric masks.

This effort is in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance that fabric masks are a crisis response option when other supplies have been exhausted.

According to JABSOM professor Angel Yanagihara, the masks will be pleated for a better fit and made of 100 percent densely woven “breathable” cotton with pockets that can be inserted with a disposable near N95 non-woven filter material, Professor Yanagihara said.

After use, the cloth masks may be treated with regular laundry soap then laundered and reused.

The first batch of cloth masks will be distributed through the University Health Partners of Hawaii, the faculty practice plan of the UH medical school, with priority given to providers and staff in primary care and emergency care specialties, who provide first-contact care for the majority of patients.


JABSOM medical students are assembling plastic face shields that are needed by frontline health care workers.

With public contributions to materials, it is hoped that these masks and shields can be extended for the support of other primary care providers (including those assessing nursing home patients) across the state of Hawaii.

Contribution to these efforts may be made here