PORTLAND, Ore. (AP/KOIN) — President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for Oregon due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The declaration orders federal assistance to aid state, tribal and local recovery efforts. The order is back-dated to Jan. 20 and brings to 18 the number of states with disaster declarations due to the novel coronavirus.
Governor Kate Brown responded to the president’s declaration via Twitter on Sunday, stating the following:
“This disaster declaration is an important first step toward unlocking all available resources for COVID-19 response, but more federal action is needed. I will continue to fight for access to every tool available to keep Oregonians safe.”
Representative Greg Walden also responded to Trump’s declaration via YouTube on Sunday evening.
“Great news, glad the administration moved rapidly over the weekend to get this done,” Walden said in the 42-second video.
In his words, the declaration means that local and state governments will be reimbursed by the federal government up to 75% for funds spent on the COVID-19 response. This includes medical supplies, public health information and education, and personal protective equipment for health care workers.
Gov. Brown declared a state of emergency on March 8. On March 23, she issued an executive order directing residents to stay home to the maximum extent possible and ordered retail businesses where close personal contact is difficult to avoid, such as hair salons, gyms, and theaters, to close. Restaurants and bars were also ordered to close or move to a takeout/delivery model.
Meanwhile, schools will remain closed statewide through the end of April.
The unemployment rate ticked up substantially last week, with more than 76,000 filing for unemployment insurance in Oregon alone.
In Oregon, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 13, while more than 2,000 have died across the U.S. so far. Statewide, at least 548 Oregonians have tested positive, while more than 137,000 have tested positive in America.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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