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Whitmer asks Trump for major disaster declaration in Michigan over COVID-19

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Posted at 11:11 AM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 17:32:26-04

(WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has sent a request to the White House asking President Donald Trump for a major disaster declaration.

If granted, Whitmer said it will help provide meals to those who need them, provide rental assistance for temporary housing, therapy for residents whose mental health is affected by COVID-19 and much more.

According to Whitmer, it would also provide additional capacity in the event the state would need to set up field hospitals and faculties.

The programs requested include, but are not limited to the following categories of individual assistance: Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Disaster Crisis Counseling, Disaster Case Management, Individuals and Households Program, Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Disaster Survivor Assistance, Disaster Legal Services, and Voluntary Agency Coordination.

The governor also requested critical public assistance programs like Debris Removal, Emergency Protective Measures, Roads and Bridges, Water Control Facilities, Buildings and Equipment, Utilities, and Parks, Recreation, and Other Facilities.

Whitmer said the state is working to secure medical supplies and personal protective equipment. She said Michigan got a shipment from the federal government strategic national stockpile, but the allocation was not enough to even cover a full shift.

She said the government has been working 24/7 to procure items.

The government has been able to secure 13 million masks, 226,000 surgical masks, 35,000 hospital gowns, more than four million gloves, nearly 100,000 face shields and thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer.

Whitmer says this is not nearly enough to meet the need. The state still needs more hospital gowns, ventilators, gloves, surgical masks and no-touch thermometers.

Trump has declared major disasters in several states, which orders federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts over COVID-19.

States that have already received federal disaster declarations include New York, Washington, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, North Carolina and New Jersey.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.