BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he filed for federal disaster assistance that, if granted, would help communities recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Baker made the announcement during a Thursday press conference.
“This request for a major disaster declaration, if approved would provide for the Commonwealth additional federal assistance beyond what was included in the emergency declaration I announced on March 13,” Baker said. “The major disaster declaration would give support and flexibility to our communities as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
This includes a request for FEMA’s public assistance program and FEMA’s individual assistance program.
If approved, the state could use federal resources to help people who have lost jobs but don’t qualify for unemployment benefits.
“We hope to see the feds move on this quickly so that we can get those resources deployed to our residents as soon as possible,” Baker said.
As of Wednesday, there were 1,838 cases and 15 deaths reported in Massachusetts.
Baker said the recent spike in new daily coronavirus positive tests is largely due to increased testing capabilities. There are now 21 labs in the state performing tests.
As of Wednesday, Baker said nearly 20,000 tests have been performed, compared to just 2,600 at this time last week.
“I want to remind people that as we continue to increase the number of tests, we expect to see case numbers rise as well,” Baker said. “But more tests means more people know for sure whether they have COVID-19. And from there, those who test positive can work with their healthcare providers and others can take the steps that they and we need to limit the spread. And the people they interact with can do the same.”