OLYMPIA — President Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for Washington and ordered federal assistance for the state, tribal and local response to the coronavirus outbreak that has killed dozens.
The disaster declaration from Sunday will provide federal assistance for both emergency protective measures and crisis counseling, the White House said.
Gov. Jay Inslee said the federal declaration was appreciated but added it is a “first step” that doesn’t go far enough.
“[Sunday’s] declaration does not unlock many forms of federal assistance we have requested to help workers and families who are badly hurting,” Inslee said in a statement. “We will continue working with our federal partners to deliver the full suite of disaster assistance that is sorely needed in our state, such as expanded unemployment benefits for workers who lose their paychecks as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.”
Trump also said Sunday he’d ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ship mobile hospital centers to the hard-hit states of Washington, California and New York amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Health officials reported Sunday there have been at least 95 coronavirus deaths in Washington state and nearly 2,000 confirmed cases.
Also, Inslee named retired Navy Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono as the director for the state’s COVID-19 Health System Response Management. She is currently a senior fellow with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
As the former chief executive officer and director for the Defense Health Agency, Bono led a joint, integrated support agency that enabled all branches of the U.S. military medical services to provide health care to people in combat.
Inslee’s appointment was effective immediately.
“Vice Admiral Bono will help bolster our existing coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic across our state’s health care system,” Inslee said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.
Washington also announced that all state campgrounds would be closed until April 30.