Nevada’s request for a major disaster declaration, opening up additional paths for federal assistance under the national emergency proclamation, has been approved, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Saturday afternoon.
The declaration, which was requested by the state on Tuesday, will allow federal dollars to flow to Nevada to support Carson City and local governments’ ongoing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal funding is expected to be made available to governmental agencies and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures.
“I am grateful to the President and federal government for their help, which will aid Nevada in responding and recovering effectively and efficiently from this disaster,” Sisolak said in a statement.
Sisolak declared a state of emergency amid the ongoing pandemic on March 12.
In a 41-page letter requesting the disaster declaration, Sisolak detailed the state’s need for federal support in response to the pandemic, including to equip health care providers and first responders with personal protective equipment, known as PPE, medical equipment, testing supplies, testing facilities, medical triage, emergency medical treatment, specialized medical equipment and additional medical facilities. Even just a 30-day supply of PPE for the state will cost $4 million, he said.
State agencies have already spent or pledged to spend at least $8 million associated with preventing the spread of COVID-19, and increased costs to Nevada’s Medicaid program are estimated at $100 million, according to the letter. The Governor’s Finance Office also is asking for an additional $6.25 million in spending authorization from the state’s disaster relief account, which will come before the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee meeting next week.
“Nevertheless, it is painfully obvious that the resources of the federal government are also needed to supplement Nevada’s efforts and ensure our recovery, both physically and economically,” Sisolak wrote in the letter.
In his letter, Sisolak also requested that the federal government authorize the full suite of individual assistance programs, including disaster unemployment assistance, disaster legal services, disaster case management, crisis counseling and training programs and mass care and emergency assistance.
“Although the response by public and private partners to the COVID-19 pandemic has reflected a well-coordinated, whole state approach to assisting the public health needs of Nevadans, more resources are needed to support this unprecedented response effort,” Sisolak wrote.
More than three dozen states and territories have already had their own requests for a major disaster declaration approved.