President issues virus disaster declaration for Washington state

Governor appoints Navy Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono to oversee COVID-19 response management.

The Associated Press reports that President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration Sunday (March 22) for Washington state and will provide federal assistance for the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“At my request, the federal government has declared a major disaster in WA,” Gov. Jay Inslee posted in a tweet Sunday afternoon. “This allows funding for crisis counseling and some emergency protective measures. However, this does not unlock many forms of assistance we requested to help hurting Washingtonians.”

Inslee also tweeted: “I will continue to work with federal partners to deliver the full suite of disaster assistance, such as expanded unemployment benefits for workers who lose their paychecks as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.”

The governor also announced Sunday that retired Navy Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono has been appointed as the Washington state director for COVID-19 Health System Response Management.

“Bono will advise the governor, his staff and state agencies on actions needed to address the capacity and strain across the health care system,” according to the announcement. “She will work closely with acute care facilities, long-term care facilities, clinics, tribal facilities, and the federal government to assess and address the greatest needs. Her role will include work to ensure medical staffing needs are met, as well as develop standard protocols across facilities and coordinate with the state Emergency Operations Center to operationalize statewide efforts.”