Whitmer Asks for Major Disaster Declaration; Says Michigan 5th Worst Virus State

March 26, 2020, 11:24 AM

Gov. Whitmer on Thursday: "It's still not nearly enough."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday that she's asked President Donald Trump for a major disaster declaration from FEMA for the state of Michigan.

At a televised press conference Thursday from Lansing, she also said Wayne County has the seventh-highest number of cases (417) among counties nationally and that Michigan ranks fifth among states with 2,856 confirmed cases and 60 deaths. 

The disaster declaration, already granted to New York and California, would help the state provide meals for those in need, rental assistance for housing, mental health therapy and counseling for people impacted by the virus and help the state meet additional health capacity needs like setting up field hospitals if necessary to accomodate the growing ranks of infected patients.

Michigan needs gowns, masks, ventilators and sanitizers. "It is still not nearly enough to meet our need," Whitmer said.

Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who sat to the left of Whitmer, said the state is working on plans to ensure patients are balanced across hospitals as several Metro Detroit hospitals reach capacity. 

Whitmer emphasized the stay-at-home order is not optional, and it's the best defense we currently have against spreading the deadly virus. People shouldn't host or attend dinner parties or other gatherings, she emphasized. 

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