The federal government will reimburse Florida for $252 million spent during the COVID-19 response.
Those funds, distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), covers 75% of Florida’s costs incurred between March 13 and April 30. Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement in a Wednesday press release.
“Florida’s targeted and data-driven approach to fighting COVID-19 and our actions to protect the most vulnerable have flattened the curve in Florida,” he said. “These additional federal funds will further our efforts to expedite critical projects as we move forward our safe, smart, step-by-step plan for Florida’s recovery.”
President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13 and Florida received its major disaster declaration on March 25. Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM) Director Jared Moskowitz said the state received one of the largest awards for COVID-19 responses given so far.
“Never before has our nation seen a time when all 50 states had a disaster declaration from FEMA, and so we knew how critical it would be to work closely with our federal partners and get these requests in early,” Moskowitz said.
DEM activated the state Emergency Operations Center, which recently entered the hurricane season, at its highest readiness level for the first time, in response to the pandemic. It also purchased medical supplies including N95 masks, medical gowns and gloves and distributed them to hospitals and first responders.
“Over the last few months Florida has taken unprecedented actions to protect the health and safety of its residents during the coronavirus pandemic,” FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech said. “This funding will help the state as it continues to recover and prepares for the next disaster.”
The state also trained personnel, expanded medical staffing, purchased ventilators and increased law enforcement presence at testing sites and hospitals with assistance from the Florida National Guard. The funding also covers meals for emergency workers and food, water and ice.