The Walz Administration will ask the federal government to declare a "Major Disaster" in Minnesota in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minnesota Director of Homeland Security Joe Kelly revealed on Thursday that both he and Gov. Tim Walz are finalizing a letter to be sent to President Donald Trump requesting the disaster declaration.
Minnesota is currently operating under a "Major Emergency Declaration," which through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ensures that the state will get reimbursed by the federal government for the cost of running operation centers, activating the National Guard, and buying personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies.
But the reason why Minnesota is requesting this is stepped up to a "Major Disaster" declaration is because one of the things that a "Major Emergency" doesn't provide reimbursement for is "crisis counseling assistance."
Kelly says that mental health is becoming an increasingly important issue at what is an incredibly traumatic time for many Minnesotans, and a Major Disaster Declaration would allow Minnesota to get reimbursed by the federal government should it boost community based counseling services.
"People fear for their health, they're worried about their jobs and paying their bills, relationships can get stressed, and just the simple disruption for routine is hard for all," Kelly said.