Moran: Waiting for COVID spread before supplying KS hospitals "would be too late"

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Sen. Jerry Moran says Kansas is fortunate to not yet be seeing the widespread coronavirus outbreak places like New York are dealing with - but that doesn't mean the state's hospitals can wait for supplies.

"The goal here is to get our hospitals, our healthcare professionals, our public health departments, in a position that, by the time the greater challenges come to the Midwest, Kansas and other states are better prepared," he told 13 NEWS in an interview Friday. "We would not want to wait until the need is upon us. That would be too late."

Moran, R-Kansas, says he's working with the state's hospitals to ensure they get needed supplies, including ventilators. He said the stimulus bill signed Friday by President Trump should assist with those efforts.

The stimulus bill also should help businesses, workers, and the general population. It includes direct payments to individuals. But Moran said he also is pleased by provisions for low-interest loans to businesses, that may then be forgiven if the companies continue to pay their workers through the COVID-19 pandemic.

While he'd like to see business get back to normal as soon as possible, Moran would not put a timeline on recovery. But he also did not fault President Trump for recent comments that he would like to see some operations resuming by Easter.

"I think it's appropriate for the President to give some hope," Moran said. "I hope that we are able to be open sooner rather than later, back to quote "normal," but I would never make this decision based upon the calendar. The idea that a specific date, Easter, is when it's going to be better - we don't know that, and we have to rely on the professionals - the healthcare professionals, medicine, science - and we need to see how this virus continues to expand."

Moran also said he does not believe a nationwide shutdown is necessary to stem the spread of the virus. He says those decisions are best left to counties and states.