Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — The White House has granted Gov. Roy Cooper’s request late for a federal disaster declaration for the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic in North Carolina.
The declaration provides Public Assistance to all 100 North Carolina counties, allowing local governments, state agencies and eligible non-profits to be reimbursed for costs involved in responding to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
“This is good news for cities, towns and counties that are incurring expenses as their public health providers, first responders and emergency managers work to protect communities from COVID-19,” Cooper said. “We know this response will be costly and this federal assistance will help cover them.”
News of the federal disaster declaration came on Thursday as the number of cases of the novel coronavirus jumped to 634 across the state.
There were 13 cases reported in Iredell County as of late Thursday morning.
North Carolina is still waiting for additional assistance that Cooper requested, including disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, disaster case management and other items. They remain under review and could be granted as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
“We will continue working with FEMA as they review our request for more benefits for people impacted by this pandemic,” added Cooper.
The governor has taken several actions to protect the health of North Carolinians, including ordering all K-12 public schools in North Carolina to close through May 15, banning gatherings of more than 50 people, limiting bars and restaurants to only take-out or delivery service, restricting visitors to long-term care facilities, and promoting social distancing by closing businesses like movie theaters, gyms, nail salons, and several others.