Gov­er­nor says Mis­souri can’t re­spond ef­fec­tively to out­break

The Kansas City Star - - Democrat Missourian - BY JA­SON HAN­COCK jhan­[email protected]­ COLUMBIA Ja­son Han­cock: 573-634-3565, @J_Han­cock

Mis­souri Gov. Mike Par­son said Wed­nes­day that the COVID-19 out­break is a dis­as­ter of such sever­ity that state gov­ern­ment can­not ef­fec­tively re­spond.

So he’s call­ing for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to ap­prove a ma­jor dis­as­ter dec­la­ra­tion for the en­tire state in or­der to re­ceive greater fed­eral as­sis­tance.

The gov­er­nor has pre­vi­ously down­played the role of gov­ern­ment in ef­fec­tively com­bat­ing the COVID-19 out­break, say­ing re­peat­edly in his daily brief­ings that gov­ern­ment can’t solve the prob­lem. The key to stop­ping the virus, he says, is com­mon sense and per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity.

And de­spite his re­quest for the fed­eral dec­la­ra­tion, Par­son con­tin­ues to re­buff calls by lo­cal of­fi­cials, pub­lic health ad­min­is­tra­tors and doc­tors to is­sue a statewide stay-at-home or­der.

Par­son said Wed­nes­day that the pandemic has al­ready “had a devastatin­g ef­fect on the state of Mis­souri, strain­ing hos­pi­tals, health­care facilities and nurs­ing homes, businesses large and small, schools, and tens of thou­sands of Mis­souri­ans who have been forced out of their jobs,” Par­son said, adding that it will “have a more sweep­ing im­pact on the en­tire state of Mis­souri than any other pre­vi­ous dis­as­ter that has af­fected our citizens.”

State and lo­cal men­tal health ser­vices will also re­quire fed­eral as­sis­tance, Par­son said. He also re­quested that the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency as­sist with re­moval and dis­posal of bio-haz­ard and other con­tam­i­nated ma­te­ri­als as a re­sult of the pandemic.

The en­tire Mis­souri con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion sup­ported

Par­son’s re­quest.

“Ac­cess to fed­eral re­sources may bet­ter equip Mis­souri com­mu­ni­ties to ap­pro­pri­ately re­spond to this pub­lic health emer­gency,” the del­e­ga­tion said in a let­ter to Trump Wed­nes­day. “We re­spect­fully re­quest your prompt ac­tion to en­sure that our com­mu­ni­ties re­ceive the im­me­di­ate sup­port needed to re­spond to this un­prece­dented dis­as­ter.”

The gov­er­nor de­clared a state of emer­gency in Mis­souri on March 13.

If the fed­eral dec­la­ra­tion is ap­proved, Mis­souri would join Cal­i­for­nia, New York, Wash­ing­ton, Louisiana and Iowa as states re­ceiv­ing in­creased fed­eral as­sis­tance.

Associated Press file photo

Mis­souri Gov­er­nor Mike Par­son de­clared a state of emer­gency over COVID-19 on March 13.

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