Gov. Phil Scott has asked the federal government to help pay for the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has already cost Vermont more than $20 million is threatening to overwhelm state and local resources.
The governor’s office said Scott has asked for federal Public Assistance (PA) funds that would reimburse the state, towns and some nonprofits, such as nursing homes, rehab centers, hospitals and emergency services. If approved, the funding would provide a 75 percent reimbursement of the cost for “actions taken to save lives and protect public health.”
The state is also requesting Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Crisis Counseling Assistance for Vermont counties.
“The COVID-19 disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments,” said Governor Scott in his letter to President Trump. “Federal assistance is absolutely necessary to ensure the health and safety of all individuals in Vermont.”
The assistance would be used to provide aid for
- Emergency Operations Center;
- Emergency Medical Care
- Medical Sheltering
- Medical Supplies
- Provisions of food, water, ice, medicine and other essential needs
- Security and law enforcement for temporary facilities
- Communications of general health and safety information to public
Scott’s office said Disaster Unemployment Assistance would address the long-term impacts on services that have reduced operations or have closed, including libraries, adult daycare centers, skilled nursing programs. Crisis Counseling Assistance/Regular Services Program would allow the state to expand access to mental health services and support to people suffering emotional and mental health distress as result of the outbreak.
Scott has also requested funding to activate additional personnel in the Vermont National Guard.
Officials say the state has spent more than $20 million on equipment and supplies in response to the coronavirus outbreak. They say current projections for other supplies, such as masks, surgical gowns and gloves, could be exhausted in the coming weeks if the outbreak takes a turn for the worst.
Since mid-March, the state has taken shipments of more than 128,000 N95 respirators; about 158,000 pairs of gloves and nearly 316,000 surgical masks. The Emergency Operations Center has been working with hospitals and clinicians to get personal-protective equipment. As of April 4, the state has placed orders for more than 3.7 million items, primarily masks, from 10 vendors.