TNS) - Missouri is asking for federal help paying for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected 255 people in the state and resulted in eight deaths.
In a news release Wednesday, Gov. Mike Parson said the pandemic is too much for the state and local governments to handle.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has already had a devastating effect on the state of Missouri, straining hospitals, healthcare facilities and nursing homes, businesses large and small, schools, and tens of thousands of Missourians who have been forced out of their jobs," Parson said in the news release. "Although it is continuing to develop, it's already clear the COVID-19 pandemic will have a more sweeping impact on the entire state of Missouri than any other previous disaster that has affected our citizens."
Approximately 45 percent of the state's population lives in locations that have issued stay-at-home orders. The areas currently under those orders are Boone and Randolph counties in central Missouri and Clay, Jackson, Greene and St. Louis counties and the city of St. Louis.
All school districts in the state are closed and will not reopen until at least early April under state orders for social distancing issued by Parson. Outside areas under stay-at-home orders, Parson has banned gatherings of more than 10 people and directed bars and restaurants to limit service to delivery and pickup orders.
In the request to declare Missouri a major disaster, Parson is seeking Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Crisis Counseling, under the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Individual Assistance Program, which provides assistance to individuals and families. Families need both finanical and emotional support during the pandemic, the release stated.
Parson also requested FEMA's Public Assistance Program to assist local governments and qualifying nonprofit agencies with emergency response expenses, including those of first responders, in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also requested that FEMA assist with debris removal expenses if needed for the removal and disposal of bio-hazard and other contaminated materials as a result of the pandemic response.
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