CORONAVIRUS

FEMA designated more than $44 million to Iowa COVID-19 work, earmarked for personal protective equipment

Funds to be used for gowns, gloves, masks, respirators and ventilators

Tom Trump of Solon, logistics section chief at Johnson County Emergency Management, opens a box of KN95 masks delivered
Tom Trump of Solon, logistics section chief at Johnson County Emergency Management, opens a box of KN95 masks delivered by Pat (left) and Andy Winborn of Kalona at the Johnson County Emergency SEATS facility in Iowa City on Saturday, March 28, 2020. The county purchased an order of masks from a supplier in Colorado, while the National Guard delivered gowns, face shields and masks dispensed from the state. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

KANSAS CITY — The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Saturday designated more than $44 million to Iowa for eligible work in the COVID-19 response, under a major disaster declaration approved last month.

Funding of $44 million — which is 75 percent federal share of total project cost of about $59 million — is committed to assist the state for purchases in March and April of personal protective equipment such as isolation gowns, masks, face shields, safety glasses and gloves, respirators and ventilators to assist hospitals, medical clinics, city and county governments and certain private not-for-profits across the state, according to a news release.

“Our health care workers are on the frontlines battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and they have the state of Iowa’s full support,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement. “FEMA’s reimbursement will allow Iowa to buy additional personal protective equipment. We appreciate President Trump and his team for supporting the health and safety of Iowans during this unprecedented crisis.”

The declaration authorized Emergency Protective Measures not approved under other federal statutes, including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program, at 75 percent federal funding for all areas in the state.

Iowa funds are obligated to Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.

“I want to commend Iowa emergency management officials for the thoroughness of their project justification, and the speed in which they were able to get submitted,” Paul Taylor, administrator of FEMA Region VII, said in a statement.

FEMA said it has simplified the Public Assistance application and funding process to address the magnitude of the pandemic’s effects and to allow local officials to receive eligible funding more quickly. These reimbursements can play a critical role as state, local and tribal officials work to assist their communities during this response, officials said.

In accordance with section 502 of the Stafford Act, eligible emergency protective measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 emergency at the direction or guidance of public health officials may be reimbursed under Category B of the agency’s Public Assistance program.

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Emergency medical care activities eligible under the COVID-19 Declarations include the purchase of personal protective equipment, durable medical equipment and consumable medical supplies necessary to respond to COVID-19 cases.

FEMA will not duplicate assistance provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or other federal agencies. This includes necessary emergency protective measures for activities taken in response to COVID-19.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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