President Donald Trump declared a major disaster exists in Texas related to the outbreak of novel coronavirus and ordered Federal assistance be sent to the Lone Star State.
The declaration came just two days after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked the White House for the designation, saying the state's response needed the support of tens of millions of federal dollars.
“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 to issue a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Texas,” said Abbott in a statement Wednesday. “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.”
It is not yet clear exactly how much assistance is headed Texas' way.
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In his letter to the White House, Abbott said, "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. Additional federal funding is essential for us to maintain our aggressive course of action to protect our state."
The federal funds will supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the coronavirus outbreak beginning on Jan. 20 and continuing.
Trump's action makes Federal funding available for crisis counseling, an area Abbott specifically requested assistance for, for affected individuals in all areas of Texas.
Federal funding is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the State of Texas impacted by COVID-19.