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VP Mike Pence visits Kokomo GM plant to highlight ventilator production

Published: May. 1, 2020 at 9:20 PM CDT
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KOKOMO, Ind. (WFIE) - Vice President Mike Pence returned to his home state on Thursday to tour a General Motors plant that is now making life-saving medical equipment to help combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

14 News Anchor Randy Moore was the only reporter from the Tri-State in Kokomo to talk with the Vice President.

General Motors partnered with medical tech company Ventec Life to build a new plant in an empty building in Kokomo, so workers will be able to mass produce ventilators. It took 17 days to construct the plant.

Only three days after the facility opened, the first ventilator was produced. Officials now expect to have 600 ventilators manufactured by the end of the week. More than 6,100 are expected to be available by June 1.

Pence tipped his hat to auto workers manufacturing ventilators for people suffering from COVID-19.

“To be among heroes in the Hoosier state for saving lives all across America," Pence said.

In an exclusive interview, 14 News asked the Vice President on whether Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb should let the stay-at-home order expire on Friday and begin the process of opening the state back up.

“We have the level of data tracking coronavirus cases so that governors can make decisions not just on a statewide basis, but on a county-by-county basis," Pence said. "So, I’m very confident that Gov. Holcomb is taking that into account, and as he makes his presentation (on Friday), I’m sure he’ll take into consideration the areas of Indiana that have been deeply impacted, particularly areas like Logansport where a meat packing facility have been impacted, but also looking at other areas of the state that have been less so.”

14 News also asked the former Indiana governor on whether places like Evansville and Vanderburgh County should reopen sooner than other areas that have been hit harder by the virus.

“When it comes to, whether it’s public safety or health issues or education, the governors are in the lead," Pence said. "And so what we’ve sought to do is empower them with resources, give them our very best guidance, but we’ll defer to Gov. Holcomb and every governor in the country about what they determine to be the best approach.”

You can watch Randy’s full interview with the Vice President in the video below.

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