WASHINGTON (CBS SF) — President Donald Trump on Sunday approved California’s major disaster declaration, making federal emergency aid resources available to help the state during the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom’s office said.
Newsom made the request Sunday and Trump approved it hours later.
“Earlier today we requested a presidential Major Disaster Declaration and this afternoon we got it,” said Newsom in a statement Sunday. “The declaration will supplement our state’s comprehensive COVID-19 surge planning and make vital resources available. We appreciate the quick response and partnership from the White House.”
The declaration includes individual assistance programs to help those affected by the outbreak and it also aims to soften the economic blow caused by the pandemic.
It will provide additional assistance, including but not limited to: mass care and emergency assistance, crisis counseling, disaster case management, disaster unemployment assistance, disaster legal services and Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, Newsom’s office said.
Aside from funding, Trump’s approval redeployed the massive Navy hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, to Los Angeles to assist the state’s medical infrastructure.
Earlier in the week, Governor Newsom predicted that the state would need over 19,000 additional hospital beds to treat the amount of COVID-19 patients the state might see.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 23, 2020
Trump also approved similar declarations for Washington and New York, the other two states hit the hardest so far by the coronavirus outbreak.
Newsom last week issued a stay-at-home order for all Californians to slow the spread of the virus through isolation and social distancing. On Friday, he deployed the California National Guard in Sacramento to held with distributing food.
On Thursday, the governor offered a sobering prediction on the surge of coronavirus cases coming to the state, projecting that more than half of the state’s residents will become infected over an eight-week period.
Newsom issued the stark assessment in a letter Thursday to President Trump asking for federal assistance, the same letter in which he requested the immediate deployment of the USNS Mercy to the Port of Los Angeles through the beginning of September.