President Donald Trump on Wednesday, March 25, declared a major disaster exists in Texas amid concerns over the spread of the CCP Virus (Wuhan coronavirus).
The declaration came two days after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked the White House for the designation, saying the state needed the supplementary federal assistance to save lives and avert the threat of a larger disaster.
“Texas is aggressively pursuing and implementing all necessary strategies to limit the impact of COVID-19, and I thank President Trump for his swift action,” Abbott said in a statement. “The president’s declaration opens up new sources of funding for individual and public assistance that will help Texas respond to this public health emergency and protect public health and safety.”
President Trump just granted a Major Disaster Declaration for Texas.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 25, 2020
“Texas is all-in on our response to COVID-19 and we need Washington’s financial assistance as provided for under the law to support our efforts to limit the spread of this virus. COVID-19-related expenses and obligations are already exceeding $50 million and that will only rise as our efforts continue,” Abbott’s letter to the White House read. “Additional federal funding is essential for us to maintain our aggressive course of action to protect our state.”
The president’s declaration makes federal funding available for the state and impacted local government, as well as some nonprofit organizations, according to the White House. Affected individuals across all areas in the State of Texas will also be eligible for crisis counseling funding.
In response to the pandemic, Abbott said he declared a state of disaster on March 13 and the Texas Department of State Health Services issued a public health disaster for the first time in the state in over 100 year. He issued multiple executive orders to address the spread of the CCP Virus including shutting down schools, restaurants, bars and gyms, and mandatory avoidance of social gathering of more than 10 people.
But the governor noted that the state is facing “shortages of hospital beds, medical equipment, and a healthy and adequate cadre of medical personnel” as the virus cases continue to rise.
Texas has since confirmed 995 total cases of the virus and 12 deaths, according to The Texas Tribune.