Governor Roy Cooper’s request for a major disaster declaration in North Carolina was approved by FEMA and the White House on Wednesday evening, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“This will allow local governments and state government agencies to seek federal reimbursement for 75 percent of eligible costs in responding to the pandemic,” North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said in a briefing Thursday. “Some federal assistance that North Carolina requested remains under review.
“That includes things like disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, disaster case management and additional assistance from the Small Business Administration.”
According to NCDHHS, 48 counties in the state have activated local emergency operations at this point while 95 counties and one tribe have declared local states of emergency.
As of this afternoon, there are 636 cases of COVID-19 in 57 counties in North Carolina.
The average age of those infected is 41 while there have been 50 hospitalizations and two deaths.
The second death — a man in his late 30s with underlying medical conditions — was reported in Hartnett County on Thursday morning.
The other was a person in their 70s in Cabarrus County on Wednesday. One more death has been reported in the state as well but this person was a resident of Virginia who was traveling through North Carolina on his way home from Louisiana.
Cabarrus County declared a “stay-at-home” proclamation Wednesday. That goes into effect at 5 p.m. Thursday. Cabarrus Health Alliance is now reporting there are 21 cases of COVID-19 in the county.
“We have a strong team at your state emergency operations center that is working hard to help keep North Carolina safe,” Sprayberry said. “I have faith in the team. I tell them each day to have faith in each other – and call their loved ones and check on them.”
He continued: “If we are all doing that at home and in our communities — looking out for each other, we will get through this pandemic together and be okay on the other side.”
If you or anyone you know is looking for assistance in this time, North Carolina 2-1-1 is doing all it can to help.
It has set up a text service where it can be reached. Text COVIDNC to 898211 to get regular information on the pandemic.
“North Carolina 2-1-1 continues to help hundreds of people each day with assistance and information related to coronavirus,” Sprayberry said. “People can get help with food assistance, paying rent and utilities and basic information.”