Beshear Working to Secure Much Needed PPE

FRANKFORT, Ky.  – Saturday Governor Andy Beshear said the efforts of all Kentuckians are needed in the fight against coronavirus.

“How great would it be if we could look back five years from now and say, ‘Well, it wasn’t easy, but we did what it took and we saved 11,000 lives,’” Gov. Beshear said. “I think that’s something worth sacrificing for. I know it’s something worth sacrificing for.”

During each briefing, Beshear stresses the state is doing what it can to secure as much personal protective equipment (PPE) as possible. He says it is getting harder and harder to find.

“We were trying to buy any ventilator we can, but virtually every order is getting bought out either by the federal government or being sent directly to one of the hot spots,” the Governor said. “It’s a challenge, but we go to work and we fight for everything we can get each and every day.

“We’re looking for ways we can manufacture PPE and critical equipment. If you are a Kentucky company and you think you can do any of this, give us a call. If we create our own manufacturing base to create PPE, we will be in a better place than just about any other state. If you can manufacture it, we will buy it.”

Anyone that can help is urged to call a new hotline 1-833-GIVE PPE, (1-833-448-3773) and or fill out a form on the new website (givep8pe.ky.gov). PPE are also now being accepted at all 16 Kentucky State Police posts across the commonwealth and at Transportation Cabinet offices in Louisville and Lexington.

Beshear says social distancing is having an impact. He looked at the seasonal flu numbers in Kentucky and noted a significant drop in new flu cases since adopting social distancing. 

“Flu also spreads in a way to where if you practice social distancing, it cuts down on cases of the flu. And, Kentucky, you’ve done that,” Beshear said. 

The governor also announced Kentucky is adopting on a voluntary basis new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending people wear cloth masks. 

“No one outside of a health care provider ought to be wearing an N95 mask. If you are doing that, it means that someone who desperately needs it doesn’t have it,” the Governor said. “Our same test of being a good neighbor when it comes to testing and hospital beds applies here now too. If you are wearing a surgical mask, we ought to really think about whether there is a health care provider that should have that.”

Beshear stressed that wearing a cloth mask is a measure to be added to social distancing, not to replace it.

Acting secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Eric Friedlander addressed how the state is taking extra steps to help Kentuckians with needed benefits.

“To get Medicaid coverage, we have taken a 20-page application and made it one,” Secretary Friedlander said. “We want anyone who does not have insurance to sign up. By getting coverage, you are helping everyone, including our health care professionals.”

The application can be found on the state’s kycovid19.ky.gov website under the “services” tab.

As of 5:00 pm April 4, Beshear said there were at least 917 cases in Kentucky, 92 of which were newly confirmed.

More than 16,663 people have been tested, but the Governor said that the real number of tests likely was larger as there is some lag in reporting from different labs.

There were three new deaths reported Saturday, raising the state’s toll to 40 deaths related to the virus.

“While three is certainly less than we’ve had the last two days, these are three people who are loved and cared about by their family and their friends. That loss is just as important as any loss that we’ve reported.”

He said the new deaths included a 56-year-old woman from Fayette County, a 52-year-old woman from Bullitt County and an 81-year-old man from Boone County.