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White House authorizes federal disaster declaration for New York State

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Posted at 1:04 PM, Mar 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 13:10:01-04

NEW YORK (WKBW) — During a press conference Saturday morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the White House has authorized a federal disaster declaration for New York State.

The action will allow for federal funding to address the needs of the state during the response to COVID-19.

Cuomo said 75 percent of the cost would be covered by the Federal Government and the state would need to cover 25 percent, he has asked the Federal Government to waive the 25 percent the state needs to cover.

According to Congressman Brian Higgins' Office, NYS will be provided further resources under the following categories:

Public Assistance: The program provides funding for emergency assistance to save lives and assists communities responding to and recovering from major disasters or emergencies. State, county and municipal governments will now be eligible for 75% federal cost sharing for various costs of responding to this crisis including overtime and equipment, reducing the costs to the local property base.

Individual Assistance: Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP): CCP provides eligible governments and non-governmental organizations with supplemental funding to assist disaster-impacted individuals and communities in recovering from the major disasters through the provision of community-based outreach and psycho-educational services. The goal is to aid survivors in recovering from the adverse reactions to disasters and to begin to rebuild their lives.

“This designation is necessary to support a community in crisis and the frontline emergency response workers doing everything they can to protect residents," Higgins said. "More is needed but this is another critical step in addressing some of our urgent needs.”

Governor Cuomo also discussed several other topics Saturday morning.

Cuomo announced the state is working to increase hospital capacity, create new beds using four possible sites accompanied by the Army Corps of Engineers as well as increase supplies.

When speaking about supplies, Cuomo announced the state has two million N95 masks available, and apparel companies would be shifting to creating masks. The state will also be purchasing 6,000 ventilators and gathering more from other facilities.

Cuomo said the state is working on new drug therapy, hydroxychloroquine and Zithromax, the FDA is acquiring 10,000 doses.

Also announced Saturday were updated confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NYS, there are now 10,356 confirmed cases in the state with the majority of those cases located around NYC.

NYS has performed 45,437 tests, which Cuomo says is the most of any state and more per capita than China and South Korea.

The hospitalization rate for positive cases in NYS is 15 percent as of March 21st.

Cuomo said Saturday he believes it will be a matter of months the state will be dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, he called on New Yorkers to practice social distancing to help stop and slow the spread. He specifically called on young people who may be downplaying the seriousness of the virus.