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The deadline for 100% reimbursement from FEMA’s Public Assistance Program for COVID-19 costs is now July 1, after President Joe Biden pushed the deadline back from April 1, as outlined in a White House note this week.
Under the program, FEMA can provide 100% of the funding for any COVID-19 costs incurred by healthcare organizations, from medical care and vaccinations to operating costs. The federal agency can also provide 100% of the federal funding to the National Guard for the same reason.
“It is my administration’s policy to combat and respond to … the pandemic with the full capacity and capacity of the Federal Government to protect and support our families, schools and businesses and to help state, local, tribal and territorial governments do the same,” Biden wrote in the note.
WHAT IS THE EFFECT
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told PBS this week that the expansion builds on the administration’s efforts to help communities that have been hit hard by the coronavirus.
Examples of recent FEMA funding include $ 91.8 million to the State of Wisconsin to help cover testing costs and empowerment in treatment centers and $ 1.2 million to Indiana’s Ball State University in February to cover on-campus testing.
The bite’s directive comes as the number of COVID-19 cases drops in several parts of the country. According to Salt Lake TribuneThe Utah Department of Health reported 396 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, marking the eighth consecutive day that the state’s daily numbers have remained below 400. Active infections in South Dakota are at their lowest point since a large increase swept through the state in the summer of 2021, with only 96 active cases, according to Rapid City Journal; and Cape Cod Times said new cases in Massachusetts plunged with a seven-day average of about 633 new cases – the lowest average seen since July last year.
Either way, the White House still sees a need for federal resources to combat the spread of the virus. Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker shows the country’s 28-day case totaling about 3.2 million, bringing the total to about 57 million. More than 950,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 or a combination of coronavirus and other comorbidities since the pandemic began in 2020.
In addition to hospitals and other healthcare settings, FEMA funding may also apply to other entities that have been affected by the virus, including schools and colleges, according to a FEMA advisory.
As for the financing of the National Guard, this branch remains under the command and control of their respective governors, but is financed by the Ministry of Defense; FEMA has awarded the DoD to fund Title 32 National Guard broadcasts to support state and territorial efforts to combat the pandemic.
THE BIGGER TREND
More than 14,000 members of the National Guard have been sent to dozens of the hard-hit states over the past few months, and the federal government said in January it is increasing its shipments of COVID-19 treatments, including antiviral drugs. The White House has also instructed FEMA to ensure that hospitals have adequate bed capacity.
The bite at the time stressed the importance of continuing to wear masks, which plays an important role in slowing the spread, especially in indoor spaces and public gatherings.