La. resources ‘overwhelmed’; $31 million on the way

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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB/KNOE) - Governor John Bel Edwards wrote a letter to President Donald Trump on Tuesday, March 24, requesting federal support as his state and local resources became “overwhelmed” amid an aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Jon Bel Edwards, D-La., is seen on the video monitor as Vice President Mike Pence speaks as he leads a video teleconference with governors about the coronavirus, during a trip to FEMA, Monday, March 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Gov. Edwards requested a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Louisiana as the number of cases of COVID-19 grows and the state’s efforts to combat the spread of illness intensifies. The state’s number of cases grew faster in the first two weeks than anywhere else in the world, according to data compiled by an economist at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. (See the graphic below.)

The declaration would allow the federal government to provide additional support for state and local agencies in dealing with this growing public health threat. Read more about that here.

Louisiana Getting $31 million FEMA grant

Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) announced a $31 million FEMA grant to the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness in response to the coronavirus.

“The federal and state governments are committed to doing whatever it takes to protect local communities from the coronavirus—and to doing it quickly. This $31 million grant could increase medical services and supplies for Louisiana communities in order to slow the spread of this disease and care for those affected by the virus,” said Kennedy.

President Trump declared a national emergency on March 13 to protect public health and safety in response to the coronavirus. The grant comes under the authority of the Stafford Act. It could be used to support emergency protective measures, including emergency medical care, medical sheltering, general health communications and the distribution of supplies.

Gov. Edwards previously issued a Public Health Emergency on March 11 in response to the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana.