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UPDATE: Gov. Whitmer sends letter to President Trump requesting "Major Disaster Declaration"

Posted at 5:10 AM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 05:10:28-04

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday she has requested a "Major Disaster Declaration" from President Donald Trump.

"If we don't do our part, more people are going to get sick," Gov. Whitmer said.

The declaration would help the state provide meals to families who need them and provide rental assistance and temporary housing to families, according to the governor's office.

It would also let the state provide counseling and therapy to Michigan residents whose mental health has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and provide needed additional capacity and funding to the state in the even that Michigan would need to set up field hospitals or other facilities, Gov. Whitmer's office said.

“We’ve seen an incredible amount of strength and courage of Michiganders during this time of uncertainty, whether it’s from communities donating food, money, and resources to those that need it or from teachers finding new and creative ways to reach out to their students,” said Governor Whitmer. “While the people and businesses of the great State of Michigan have shown incredible resilience and cooperation throughout this difficult time, we cannot weather this storm alone. I am hopeful that the president will grant my request for a major disaster declaration in full and within a matter of days so we can provide more services to Michiganders who need them.”

The governor has also requested critical public assistance programs like debris removal, emergency protective measures, roads and bridges and hazard mitigation assistance to provide relief during planning for recovery in the long-term.

The governor reiterated the importance of the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order.

She went over the medical supplies the state currently has, saying hospitals are still in need of supplies like hand sanitizer, gloves and gowns.

She encouraged Michigan residents to get involved by giving blood and donating to local food banks or donating any medical supplies they might have.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said Michigan had 2,295 confirmed cases with 43 deaths and said a lot of hospitals are at or near compacity.

Hospitals outside of southeast Michigan are being asked to serve as relief hospitals for critical coronavirus patients, Dr. Khaldun said. She said as time moves forward, the state might need to use alternative sites, but more details on that are not available at this time.

Dr. Khaldun said testing also needs to increase in the state. She said additional hospitals and local leaders are developing testing sites.

"We are confident that testing in the appropriate matter will be able to give the state a better understanding of who has the disease so that we can slow the spread as much as possible," Dr. Khaldun said.

Dr. Khaldun said we are on the up-slope of the coronavirus curve.

For additional resources, click here.

Gov. Whitmer said she is in contact with other officials regarding what's to come regarding schools and will have an update coming.

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