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Trump approves Major Disaster Declaration for California to free up funds for coronavirus response

Trump approves Major Disaster Declaration for California to free up funds for coronavirus response

President Donald Trump on Sunday approved a Major Disaster Declaration to assist in California’s COVID-19 preparedness and emergency response efforts. The move frees federal funds to help with mass care and emergency assistance, crisis counseling, disaster case management, disaster unemployment assistance, disaster legal services and disaster supplemental nutrition assistance.

Federal funding is also available to tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.

Officials did not immediately say how much money may be made available under the declaration.

“Unfortunately, California has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote in a letter to Trump on Sunday requesting the declaration. “Besides California being home to nearly 40 million people, which itself poses significant logistical issues few other states face, California partnered with the federal government in several extremely complex and challenging repatriation missions, which strained California’s resources and impacted California’s healthcare.”

Trump also announced that he ordered FEMA to ship mobile hospital centers to California, Washington and New York.

When the US Naval Ship Mercy arrives in Los Angeles, it will open 1,000 beds and become the largest hospital in the city, Mayor Eric Garcetti said. The timing for the vessel’s arrival was not announced.

California is one of the hardest-hit states, with more than 1,600 confirmed cases and 30 deaths as of Sunday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The California Department of Health’s latest statistics show 1,468 cases and 27 deaths.

The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Daily News contributed to this story.

Press Enterprise