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Gov. Beshear Expands Kentucky National Guard Support to More Hospitals

Crystal Staley or Sebastian Kitchen
Office of the Governor
700 Capitol Avenue
Frankfort, KY  40601

Five Kentucky children with COVID-19 on ventilators

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 23, 2021) – On Thursday during his weekly Team Kentucky update, Gov. Andy Beshear said he has now deployed 505 Kentucky National Guard members to 29 hospitals throughout the state, expanding the Guard’s presence by 94 members and to four more hospitals.

“This is the largest deployment of the Kentucky National Guard for a health care crisis in the commonwealth’s history,” said Gov. Beshear. “We continue to hear from our hospitals how much these incredible professionals help.”

As of today, 64 of 96 Kentucky hospitals are reporting critical staffing shortages, and 130 adult ICU beds are available statewide. Five Kentucky children with COVID-19 are currently on ventilators.

To see a map of current Kentucky National Guard, COVID-19 testing and nursing student support to hospitals, click here.

Already this week, 90 acute care hospitals have administered 4,385 monoclonal antibody treatment courses. Kentucky will receive 4,960 treatments for the entire week.

“We see these being very popular with folks who don’t want to get vaccinated, but the moment they get sick, want to get the monoclonal antibodies,” said Gov. Beshear. “I’m just trying to tell you: There’s not going to be enough. Don’t put yourself in the position where you show up hoping to get these and we’ve run out.”

Gov. Beshear said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorization yesterday for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to allow for a single booster dose to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series in specific populations. To learn more, see the FDA’s full release.

COVID-19 Update
Today, Gov. Beshear reported 2,667,900 Kentuckians have received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, meaning 70% of all eligible Kentuckians (those 12 and older) have received at least one dose.

Sept. 23 2021, COVID-19 Case Information
Cases: 4,099
Deaths: 44
Positivity Rate: 11.33%
Hospitalizations: 2,223
Intensive Care Admittances: 625
On Ventilators: 424

From March 1 to Sept. 22, 2021, 86.7% of COVID-19 cases, 92.1% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 84.6% of COVID-19 deaths have been among partially vaccinated or unvaccinated Kentuckians.

Gov. Beshear: National Disaster Medical System Team Arrives in Hazard
In his latest action to support strained Kentucky hospitals, Gov. Beshear announced that a National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) team he requested arrived at Appalachian Regional Healthcare in Hazard yesterday and will stay for two weeks. Another NDMS team arrived Sept. 4 at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead. To learn more, see the full release.

The Governor has also requested a 30-day extension of the five Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Medical Services strike teams tasked with transferring and transporting COVID-19 patients. To learn more, see the full release.

“These NDMS and FEMA teams have played a crucial role assisting our health care heroes as they fight the worst COVID-19 surge we have ever faced,” said Gov. Beshear. “We need continued federal assistance to save Kentucky lives, both from COVID and from other serious illnesses and injuries that require emergency medical treatment.”

Team Kentucky All-Stars
This week, Gov. Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman celebrated National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, Sept. 20-24, by signing a proclamation and launching the new “My Story Reimagined” campaign to promote Kentucky Skills U (KYSU), the state’s adult education program in the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The following eight KYSU participants were honored during the campaign launch as Adult Education Champions, and today as Team Kentucky All-Stars. To learn more, see the full release.

  • Kelli Jo Blair, Martin County;
  • Michael Curd, Anderson County;
  • Shengxia Ding, Jefferson County;
  • Mason Hampton, Pike County;
  • Maria Hill, Russell County;
  • Danielo Pickett, Warren County;
  • Ginger Sparks, Warren County; and
  • Bonnie Sprinkles, Taylor County.

In January 2020, Gov. Beshear and Lt. Gov. Coleman waived the $120 GED testing fee for first-time test-takers, resulting in an 81% jump in test sign-ups after just two months. To date, more than 6,300 Kentuckians have taken advantage of the fee-waiver program to work toward their GED credential.

“We’re going to make sure that no one is ever prevented from getting their high school diploma or equivalency in Kentucky due to cost. We are proud of each and every one of these All-Stars,” said Gov. Beshear.

Kentucky Companies Launch Innovative Products as Economy Builds Momentum
Gov. Beshear welcomed executives from Bullard, a fifth-generation, family-owned Kentucky company based in Cynthiana that develops and produces safety and personal protective equipment (PPE). The company recently began manufacturing an innovative respirator that is designed to help frontline heroes battle COVID and more.

The company is launching that device, called a Powered Air-Purifying Respirator, or PAPR, that offers increased protection and comfort for medical professionals and others.

“As the pandemic took hold last year and global demand for PPE skyrocketed, Bullard partnered with Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown. Working together, Bullard gained efficiencies and ramped-up production of its existing respirators while expediting development of this new respirator, specifically for health care workers,” said Gov. Beshear. “This shows the very best of Team Kentucky.”

Wells Bullard, the company’s chief executive officer, explained: “Health care workers have worn PAPRs for years, but Bullard’s salus HC PAPR is a better solution because it’s truly designed to be comfortable, to be easy to use and also to enable better care through better communication. And it’s designed, developed and manufactured right here in Kentucky. I want to say a huge thanks to our incredible team at Bullard, to our amazingly brave customers and to this commonwealth for supporting us.”

Landon Borders, Bullard’s director of product development, added: “The salus HC PAPR removes particulates from the atmosphere and provides clean, breathable air to the person wearing it. We wanted to make it extremely comfortable to wear, as traditional PAPRs are worn around the waist and may not be designed for all day use. The salus HC PAPR is worn around the shoulders, which is much better for supporting weight. It’s very easy to use with one-button operation. It also makes it very easy for a patient to see the doctor’s or nurse’s face to communicate, and it rests around the ears to keep them exposed so doctors can still use stethoscopes and hear their patients better. It protects our health care professionals so that they can in turn treat our patients.”

This week, Gov. Beshear also announced third-party logistics firm Lighthouse Transportation Services LLC plans to create 64 well-paying jobs for Kentuckians across the coming years with a $400,000 investment, thanks to the company’s strong growth in Covington. To learn more, see the full release.

In addition, he said Horse Soldier Bourbon expects to create more than 50 jobs with a new $200 million tourism development project that will bring bourbon and tourism dollars to Pulaski County.

Horse Soldier Bourbon was founded by retired members of the U.S. Special Forces – the first to enter Afghanistan, on horseback, following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Later, they were called “Horse Soldiers.”

Never satisfied, the Horse Soldiers committed themselves to a new mission in 2014 to make history again, this time by creating a world-leading, ultra-premium bourbon brand. The Horse Soldier team was training on the Cumberland River on Sept. 11, 2001, when the call came to defend our nation in its darkest hour. Now, 20 years later, they are coming home. To learn more, see the full release.