FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – One of Kentucky’s largest employers has made a large donation of personal protective equipment, or PPE, to help the state combat the coronavirus pandemic.
During a Monday press conference at the Kentucky Department for Public Health warehouse in Frankfort, Gov. Andy Beshear announced, “Today, we’re happy to announce that the Ford Motor Co. has generously donated two million masks to the commonwealth, which is among the largest gifts we have received. This donation undoubtedly will help save Kentuckians’ lives.”
He was joined by first lady Britainy Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack and Kentucky Division of Emergency Management Director Michael E. Dossett, for the announcement.
“Even before this global health crisis arrived in Kentucky more than six months ago, we were working to secure the personal protective equipment needed to keep our people safe,” the governor said. “The many great companies that do business in the Commonwealth have been key partners in these efforts.”
The Ford donation means the state now has a 120-day supply of PPE, according to Beshear. “Kentucky’s inventory of crucial PPE is at its most secure state since this pandemic started. Right now, we are ready to meet any future second spike that we may see, and we will likely see with this virus.”
He noted the inventory includes:
Face shields: 1,261,766
Surgical masks: 11,279,861
N95 masks: 930,110
Beshear said the state has spent nearly $50 million on PPE during the COVID-19, which has gone to locations where it has been needed the most. “Senior living centers, long-term care and nursing homes, ambulance centers, EMS, air medical units, public health departments, urgent care centers, hospitals, hospice centers, National Guard, county clerks, jails and fire rescue units, and many others.”
He added, “By the end of September, we will have completed this stockpile of inventory from our vendors. By the end of this month, our final purchases that are out there will be complete. But those who are planning to donate or still want to, please do.”
Dr. Stack said he first saw the warehouse in mid-March and thought at that time there was enough for a regional crisis, but not something like the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. “Today, we’ve more than doubled this warehouse space; we acquired the other half of this building, and we now have racks the entire length of the facility filled with resources.”
Stack noted the inventory is one of Kentucky’s successes in the fight against COVID after struggling, as did many other states and nations, to secure enough PPE for frontline workers early in the pandemic.