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Major Disaster Declaration Approved For Louisiana, Paving The Way For More Federal Aid

Liam James Doyle

President Donald Trump approved Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration late Tuesday night, paving the way for Louisiana to receive additional federal aid as the state fights the coronavirus.

Louisiana is just the fourth state to receive such a designation.

Edwards thanked President Trump in a written statement Wednesday morning.

“Because of the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana, we have overwhelmed our stocks of key resources and supplies for hospitals, first responders and emergency managers,” Edwards said. “This declaration should allow for additional resources from the federal government and provide us with more tools and equipment to treat the sick and increase our hospital capacity.”

The state has the third most COVID-19 cases per capita, according to Edwards. He had repeatedly warned that without federal intervention, the high concentration of cases in the New Orleans area could overwhelm the health care system there by early April.

With the major disaster declaration, the federal government will cover 75 percent of any cost incurred by state, tribal and eligible local governments fighting the outbreak.

FEMA has named George A. Robinson as the Federal Coordinating Officer for recovery operations in Louisiana.

President Trump had previously made major disaster declarations in California, New York and Washington. He also approved a major disaster declaration for Iowa on Tuesday.

Read FEMA’s Press Release Announcing the Major Disaster Declaration for Louisiana here.

Read Gov. Edwards’ Letter to President Trump Requesting a Major Disaster Declaration for Louisiana here.

Paul Braun is WRKF's Capitol Access reporter.