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Johns Island startup donates masks to health care facilities

Staff Report //May 6, 2020//

Johns Island startup donates masks to health care facilities

Staff Report //May 6, 2020//

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Johns Island-based life sciences company Okra Medical has donated nearly 100,000 face masks to eight hospitals and a pediatric group to help the health care facilities protect against COVID-19.

The masks are small so that they can be worn by children and young adults.

Among the recipients of the masks are the Medical University of South Carolina; Roper St. Francis Healthcare; Coastal Pediatric Associates in North Charleston; Prisma Health; Shriners Hospital for Children in Greenville; Conway Medical Center; and hospitals in Raleigh, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Okra Medical had planned to launch its new pharmaceutical drug destroyer, called SafeMedWaste, in mid-March, but the coronavirus prevented that from happening.

“Like many in America, the coronavirus brought our business to a standstill,” Okra Medical CEO Marshall Hartmann said in a news release. “We redirected our laboratory efforts to securing medical supplies to both help fund our payroll and to give back to our community.”

SCBio and Sen. Tim Scott’s office helped Okra Medical find organizations that would most benefit from the donation of masks.

“The rapid response of Sen. Tim Scott’s team allowed us to quickly get donation masks into the hands of people who needed them most,” Justin Stas, chief technical officer of Okra Medical, said in the release. “We are very proud of the way our South Carolina community, from government to individuals, has come together during this difficult time.”