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State briefs for February 27

Maui Health plans to
increase vaccine appointments

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — Maui Health announced plans to increase the number of first-dose coronavirus vaccination appointments, while Kauai has widened the availability of vaccine doses.

The nonprofit health care organization for Maui and Lanai said it will raise the number of weekly vaccines to 3,000 beginning next week and 4,000 the following week. Maui Health is nearing completion of the final 1,000 of 5,000 appointments that were rescheduled after clinics closed in January because of vaccine shortages, spokeswoman Tracy Dallarda said.

Maui Health opened a satellite vaccine clinic Wednesday at a Kaiser Permanente facility in Kihei that will operate Wednesdays and Fridays by appointment.

The clinic has 500 doses of Moderna vaccine and plans to use them over the next two weeks, offering 200 appointments this week and 300 appointments next week. Maui Memorial Medical Center will redirect some Pfizer doses to the Kihei clinic while awaiting another delivery of Moderna vaccine to use as second doses, Dallarda said.

“What we’re trying to do is really ramp up the number of appointments that we can take,” Dallarda said.

The County of Kauai has opened its vaccine distribution to residents aged 75 and over.

Center becomes classroom during pandemic

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Nature Center has become an outdoor classroom for children who have been huddled in front of screens for their school lessons but want more than virtual learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

The center on the outskirts of urban Honolulu that has connected kids to nature for nearly 40 years has taken on a renewed purpose in the age of COVID-19, Hawaii Public Radio reported Thursday.

The center’s weekday Outdoors EDVenture Program offers science-based environmental education to children ages 6 to 11.

Kids in face masks crisscross the Kanealole Stream in Makiki Valley dipping nets in the hopes of finding shrimp or guppies. Others explore the nearby meadow trying to catch butterflies, grasshoppers and other bugs.

“What we see is a lot of growth there with the families that have decided that home school is a better option or that their schools get out early enough on the virtual learning day,” center Executive Director Todd Cullison said.

Leon Geschwind has been sending 6-year-old daughter Anna to the center at least once each week since the summer. “We realized the importance and value of being outdoors and kind of what outdoors means to the kids,” Geschwind said.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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