AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills announced Wednesday that she has submitted a request through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration over the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on Maine.
“I have determined that COVID-19 will be of such severity that effective recovery is beyond the capabilities of state and local governments and supplemental federal assistance is necessary,” Mills wrote in her request to President Trump.
If Mills’ request for assistance is approved, Mainers could have access to additional resources that support child care, behavioral health, and legal services, among others, needed in response to the pandemic. The Governor’s request is for all 16 counties.
Read the full request to President Trump here:
On Thursday all four members of Maine's Congressional Delegation wrote a letter to President Trump in support of Mills' request. U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins and U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden asked the President to fully grant the Governor's requests for federal assistance.
“As the oldest state by median age, Maine residents are particularly vulnerable to the disease, increasing strain on an already overburdened health care system,” the Delegation wrote. "The State has acted decisively to try to mitigate the spread of the virus, but the response to this pandemic has strained state and local resources, and the Governor has determined that the effects of the pandemic exceed the state’s currently available capabilities."
Read the Delegation's full letter here:
In her letter to the President on Wednesday, Mills said, “I am proud of the way Maine people have responded to this virus, and I know they will continue to meet this public health crisis with the same resilience and compassion that has defined us throughout our history. While I know we will conquer this virus, we cannot do it alone. As Maine people do their part, I am hopeful the President will lend the support of the Federal government by approving my request for a major disaster declaration swiftly and in full. Doing so will allow us to provide more services to Maine people who need them. I thank the President for his consideration.”
The Governor also requested approval of funds for the Maine National Guard. Mills exercises command over the Guard, and her proclamation of a State of Civil Emergency allows for their deployment.
“Approval of the Governor’s Title 32 request by the President would mean that the Federal government would absorb the costs of any action taken by the Guard in Maine,” the Governor’s press release says. “At present, the Guard stands ready to assist at the direction of the Governor and their mission could include the use of logistic, medical, transportation, security, rotary and fixed wing aviation, cyber, incident assessment and awareness, and engineering assets to respond to COVID-19”
On Saturday, the Washington Post reported that Maine had received only 5 percent—25,558—of the N95 masks the state requested from the federal government. Other states received far more. Florida received more than the 430,000 surgical masks it requested in three days, according to the report, with another shipment days later and a third expected.
Mills reiterated to the Trump administration on Monday the need for more personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing supplies, and the Maine Emergency Management Agency and Maine CDC continue attempts to secure more supplies through FEMA, the U.S. CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Mills' spokesman Scott Ogden said Monday afternoon.
At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus