Walz asks for Presidential disaster declaration over coronavirus

Will authorize federal assistance with pandemic costs.

Posted: Apr 5, 2020 4:51 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Governor Tim Walz is asking President Trump to issue a Major Disaster Declaration for Minnesota.

That’s a necessary step to authorize emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“The State of Minnesota responded quickly to this public health disaster and continues to do so to the fullest extent possible,” writes Governor Walz. He adds that without federal assistance, “the state’s ability to respond to and recover from this event will be severely impacted.”

A disaster declaration authorizes the federal government to reimburse states for things like activation of an emergency operations center, National Guard costs, law enforcement, mental health support, and other measures necessary to protect public health and safety.

President Trump has already issued a disaster declaration for Iowa.

The letter, the text of which can be read below, requests authorization for funding to support crisis counseling, supplemental nutrition programs, medical assistance, funeral assistance, legal services, and statewide hazard mitigation.

The Honorable Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Through:

James K. Joseph, Regional Administrator
Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region V
536 South Clark Street, Floor 6
Chicago, IL 60605

Dear Mr. President:

Under the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207 (Stafford Act), as implemented by 44 C.F.R. § 206.36, I request that you issue an expedited major disaster declaration for Public Assistance (PA) Category B – emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance and Individual Assistance (IA), for the State of Minnesota as result of the ongoing impacts of the global pandemic Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

United States Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex M. Azar II, declared a public health emergency for the nation on January 31, 2020, pursuant to Section 319 of the Public Health Service Act. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. You declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020, pursuant to Section 201 and Section 301 of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1621.

On March 13, 2020, you also declared that the ongoing pandemic is of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant an emergency declaration for all states, tribes, territories, and the District of Columbia pursuant to section 501(b) of the Stafford Act. In accordance with that declaration, eligible emergency protective measures taken to respond to COVID-19 at the direction or guidance of public health officials may be reimbursed under Category B of FEMA’s PA program. Reimbursable activities typically include emergency protective measures, such as the activation of emergency operations center, National Guard costs, law enforcement, and other measures necessary to protect public health and safety.

I request that you authorize the following IA programs in a major disaster declaration for Minnesota: Crisis Counseling, Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Program, Individuals and Households Program, Other Needs Assistance to include Medical Assistance, Funeral Assistance, Disaster Legal Services, Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance, as well as statewide Hazard Mitigation. The following analysis supports including the IA programs in the declaration.

Individual Assistance Declaration Factors

Under 44 C.F.R. § 206.48(b), six individual assistance declaration factors are to be considered. These factors are:

1. State Fiscal Capacity and Resources Availability

Minnesota has allocated all available resources to the effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and is directly supporting local response efforts, while experiencing significant impact to the state’s economy. Resources of local governments and supporting private entities are strained, and financial resources that were reasonably expected to be at the state’s disposal are being rapidly diminished by the impact on the current operating budget. Business revenue and tax receipts are suffering, and—without supplemental federal assistance—the state’s ability to respond to and recover from this event will be severely impacted.

2. Uninsured Home and Personal Property

The state is not requesting Individuals and Households program for physical damages, so home and personal property loss data is not applicable.

3. Disaster Impact Population Profile

Currently, all 87 counties and 11 tribes are impacted by the spread of the pandemic. As of April 4, 2020, Minnesota has 865 positive cases with 24 deaths. The age range is from 4 months to 104 years old. The median age of infected persons is 47 years.

4. Impact to Community Infrastructure

COVID-19 continues to have a drastic effect on community infrastructure. Hospitals, medical facilities, and emergency response organizations are facing challenges rarely, if ever, experienced before. The process of identifying, triaging, testing, and isolating potentially infected people is significantly disrupting lifesaving and life-sustaining services. Additionally, insufficient resources and capacity at health care facilities, and the already limited number of qualified medical staff will continue to diminish rapidly as the impacts of COVID-19 spread.

Experience in previous disasters shows that emotional and psychological problems can be slow to surface, because individuals can cope with some isolation and trauma for a limited time early on. The potential delayed reactions are especially concerning during the COVID-19 pandemic because Minnesota’s provider networks are already seeing drops in patient census, liquidity, and staff availability, on top of issues like school closures. Combined with a projected lengthy pandemic timeline, this will likely negatively impact the number of Minnesotans who are able to get their behavioral health and intellectual/developmental needs met through traditional means, which will create additional resource pressure on crisis lines as the pandemic unfolds.

5. Casualties

As of April 4, 2020, the Minnesota Department of Health has recorded 24 deaths as a direct result of the COVID-19 virus.

6. Disaster-Related Unemployment

During this unprecedented event, Minnesota is experiencing a high volume of calls and applications for unemployment assistance. The Minnesota Department of Economic Development (DEED) is seeing historic increases in unemployment filings. Since this event began, DEED has processed 297,397 applications for unemployment insurance.

Preliminary Damage Assessments

Preliminary damage assessments are impossible due to the dynamic nature of this public health disaster, but the damage is already substantial and continues to grow in both scope and scale. In response to the outbreak, schools and businesses have closed, workers lost their jobs, and major events were cancelled. Businesses large and small are suffering. The full economic impact on Minnesota’s economy has yet to be determined, but the negative effects will be substantial. I respectfully request you waive the requirement for preliminary damage assessments in accordance with 44 CFR Section 206.33(d).

State and Local Government Actions

The State of Minnesota responded quickly to this public health disaster and continues to do so to the fullest extent possible. On January 29, 2020, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) instituted its incident command system (ICS) to provide a standardized approach to the command, control, and coordination of our initial response. MDH convened a state agency COVID-19 coordinating group on March 3, 2020. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety activated the state emergency operations center on March 6, 2020.

To date, I have issued 27 emergency executive orders in response to the coronavirus outbreak, beginning with the declaration of a peacetime emergency on March 13, 2020. Other major response and mitigation actions ordered include activating the Minnesota National Guard, closing schools to on-site education, and closing bars and restaurants to on-site service, as well as other places of public accommodation. On March 25, 2020, I issued a stay at home order. All these emergency executive orders remain in effect.

Nearly every government agency, non-profit, and volunteer organization around the state has supported Minnesota’s response. The state government agencies and organizations assisting in the response include the Department of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Department of Military Affairs, Department of Agriculture, Department of Administration, Department of Commerce, Department of Corrections, Department of Labor and Industry, Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, State Fire Marshall, Minnesota State Patrol, Department of Transportation, Minnesota Management and Budget, Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Metro Transit, Minnesota Council on Disabilities, University of Minnesota, Department of Revenue, and Department of Natural Resources.

For this major disaster, I certify that state and local governments will assume all applicable non-federal cost shares as required by the Stafford Act. I have designated Minnesota’s state emergency management director, Mr. Joe Kelly, as state coordinating officer (SCO) for this incident.

On behalf of all Minnesotans, I thank you and respectfully request your full consideration and expedited approval of my request.

Sincerely,

Tim Walz
Governor

cc: John Harrington, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Joe Kelly, Director, Minnesota Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 895229

Reported Deaths: 9462
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1749772017
Ramsey722701040
Dakota66032572
Anoka62513568
Washington39357355
Stearns32821275
St. Louis28761399
Wright25354211
Scott25329181
Olmsted21750127
Sherburne18478126
Carver1629166
Clay11923103
Blue Earth1126366
Rice11234138
Crow Wing11003122
Chisago974676
Kandiyohi9660106
Otter Tail9611126
Benton8815124
Beltrami801794
Goodhue786596
Douglas7689100
Itasca752796
Mower721349
Winona702756
McLeod694483
Isanti681383
Steele669431
Morrison663479
Becker620873
Polk591684
Freeborn550846
Carlton529474
Nobles521654
Lyon518761
Mille Lacs516573
Nicollet510960
Pine500641
Cass491252
Todd483642
Brown465057
Le Sueur445933
Meeker422357
Martin378143
Wabasha366010
Waseca365132
Dodge351511
Hubbard349848
Roseau307931
Fillmore299115
Wadena298239
Redwood277845
Houston266817
Renville264151
Faribault253032
Pennington247529
Sibley246917
Kanabec241536
Cottonwood225032
Chippewa216342
Aitkin215850
Pope203210
Watonwan194920
Yellow Medicine185423
Rock174728
Swift169322
Koochiching168123
Stevens164511
Jackson159216
Clearwater155720
Marshall151122
Murray150911
Pipestone148329
Lake129824
Lac qui Parle120025
Wilkin119416
Mahnomen104714
Norman10389
Grant9719
Big Stone9365
Lincoln8705
Kittson71523
Red Lake70710
Traverse5996
Unassigned572124
Lake of the Woods5235
Cook3020

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 520452

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Unassigned40470
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
Van Buren93222
Wayne84525
Ringgold76729
Audubon74917
Adams5748
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