March 23, 2020
Contact: Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs Division
Federal Partners Provide Additional Health & Medical Support for Coronavirus
The federal government continues taking aggressive and proactive steps to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The health and safety of the American people is our top priority. Under the direction of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, FEMA, HHS and our federal partners are working with state, local, tribal and territorial governments to execute a whole of government response to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and protect the public.
On Sunday, March 22, President Trump directed the Secretary of Defense to allow the States of California, New York and Washington use of the National Guard in a Title 32 status to support State and local emergency assistance efforts. This allows the Governors to call up the National Guard to support their disaster response efforts, on a fully reimbursable basis and under their respective command and control, if that becomes necessary. Additional states are able to request this assistance and those requests will be considered.
On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a nationwide emergency pursuant to Sec. 501(b) of Stafford Act. The President’s action cuts red tape and bureaucracy and avoids governors needing to request individual emergency declarations. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, five territories and two tribes are working directly with FEMA under the nationwide emergency declaration for COVID-19. States, tribal and territorial governments do not need to request separate emergency declarations to receive FEMA assistance under this nationwide declaration.
In addition, the states of New York, Washington and California were approved for major disaster declarations to assist with additional needs identified in these states. Medical supplies are en route to these states, including respirators, surgical masks and gowns, face shields, coveralls and gloves, with quantities already delivered to Washington and New York. We anticipate additional supplies will be delivered within the next 48 hours.
The U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy is en route to Los Angeles to provide additional hospital beds and medical staff because the projected cases there are expected to be greater than Washington. Additional hospital beds are being made available in Washington, as well as California and New York.
To help the American public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to COVID-19, FEMA has created a Rumor Control page on FEMA.gov. The public can help control the spread of rumors by sharing our page: fema.gov/coronavirus.
Every American has a role to play. Consider donating cash, giving blood, or donating to your local food bank to help fight COVID-19.
Please see attached for updated information on the federal response efforts, including support for delivery of critical goods and services, Community Based Testing Sites (CBTS), Defense Production Act, and How to Help.
If you have any questions, please contact the Office of External Affairs, Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs Division at (202) 646-3444 or at FEMA-IGA@fema.dhs.gov.
FEMA’s mission is to help people before, during and after disasters.
Follow FEMA online, on Twitter @FEMA or @FEMAEspanol, on FEMA’s Facebook page or Espanol page and at FEMA’s YouTube account. Also, follow Administrator Pete Gaynor’s activities @FEMA_Pete.