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March 29, 2020

Gov. Wolf requests major disaster relief for Pennsylvania to combat coronavirus outbreak

If approved, the measure would provide the state with more federal funding to combat COVID-19

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf requested a Major Disaster Declaration on Sunday from President Donald Trump in order to provide the state with more federal relief as it seeks to combat the spread of coronavirus. 

The funding, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), would help support both state and local efforts, as well as individuals, during the COVID-19 outbreak in Pennsylvania, Wolf said.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has taxed our commonwealth and our communities in ways that are almost incomprehensible,” Wolf said in a statement. “I am calling on the President and the federal government to make available to us the assistance that will make a tangible difference in the lives of our friends and neighbors, and the dedicated public servants who are working in overdrive to support them.”

Wolf signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency for the coronavirus pandemic in the state earlier this month, which is required in order to request a federal Major Disaster Declaration for Pennsylvania.

President Trump has approved 16 states thus far for a Major Disaster Declaration, including New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy made the request for federal emergency aid last Monday, and the state was approved for additional federal resources this past Thursday. It is unclear at this point when Trump will grant Wolf’s request.

Wolf’s request comes as coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania continue to rise on a daily basis. There are 3,394 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the ninth-most of any state, and 38 deaths as a result of the virus as of Sunday afternoon. Of those cases, 1,969 have emerged in Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia has 865 positive cases and five deaths, Montgomery County has 488 cases and five deaths, Delaware County has 276 cases and four deaths, Bucks County has 203 cases and one death, and Chester County has 137 cases.

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