Whitmer Asks Trump For Major Disaster Declaration In Michigan

WWJ News
March 26, 2020 - 11:32 am

(WWJ) Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is requesting a major disaster declaration from President Donald Trump to help support Michigan residents through the coronavirus crisis.

At last official count, Michigan ranked fifth-highest in the nation for the number of COVID-19 cases, with at least 43 deaths.

What the declaration would do, if granted, Whitmer said, is allow the state access to badly needed FEMA funds to help obtain meals to those who need them, rental assistance for temporary housing, therapy for residents whose mental health is affected by COVID-19 and much more.

Whitmer said FEMA could also provide additional capacity if the need arieses in Michigan to set up field hospitals and faculties.

While medical supply shortage, particularly personal protection equipment, is of paramount concern at this time, the governor said the state has secured or procured: 

  • 13 million N95 masks
  • 226,000 surgical masks
  • 35,000 hospital gowns
  • 4+ million pairs of gloves
  • 100,000 face shields
  • 250 hospital beds
  • Thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer

"We have been working 24-7 to secure items," Whitmer said.

At this time, Whitmer said the most needed supplies are hospital gowns, ventilators, hand sanitizers, masks and touchless thermometers.

The governor thanked business including Ford, General Motors, FCA, GE and Coppercraft and Mammoth distilleries for their work on helping to obtain supplies. However, "It is still not nearly enough to meet our need," she said.

Some doctors and nurses are being forced to reuse masks, she said. 

Ways the public can help, she said, include donating supplies, donating to food banks and donating blood. 

Most importantly, Whitmer said, people need to stay put as much as possible, in accordance with her executive order.

"This order is not optional. It is not a recommendation," Whitmer said. 

While there is no cure and no vaccine for the novel coronavirus at this time, the most powerful tool in our arsenal is simply staying home. 

"I have seen good people across the state who are moving forward and doing their part," Whitmer said. "Please do your part so their work is not in vain.”

Noting increases in positive tests and deaths in Michigan, she added "stopping the spread is really the only tool we have right now to keep our community safe."