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FEMA’s Role in the COVID-19 Response
How is FEMA responding?
The federal government continues taking aggressive and proactive steps to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The health and safety of the American people is our top priority. This is a whole of government response. Like all emergencies, response is most successful when it is locally executed, state managed and federally supported.
On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a nationwide emergency pursuant to Sec. 501(b) of Stafford Act. The President’s action cuts red tape and bureaucracy and avoids governors needing to request individual emergency declarations.
The nationwide emergency declaration increases federal support to the White House Task Force as it leads the ongoing federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pursuant to this declaration, FEMA, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and other eligible entities with the health and safety actions they take on behalf of the American public.
All 50 states, the District of Columbia, five territories and five tribes are working directly with FEMA under the nationwide emergency declaration for COVID-19.
Is there coordination to help states get medical supplies?
FEMA is coordinating the full federal response along with HHS and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to ensure state, local, tribal and territorial governments receive the supplies and support they need, including medical supplies.
Federal agencies are working to meet demands for personal protective equipment (PPE) through new acquisition, Department of Defense allocation and HHS’s Strategic National Stockpile. FEMA and HHS are working to deliver additional supplies and ventilators and is working to procure and track commodities to supplement state and tribal purchases.
Medical supplies are en route to states, including respirators, surgical masks and gowns, face shields, coveralls and gloves. Many supplies have already arrived and additional supplies are en route to these designated areas.
Is FEMA activated?
All 10 FEMA regional offices are supporting states either virtually or within their emergency operations centers. At FEMA headquarters, our National Response Coordination Center is activated to its highest level as we support HHS in coordinating the federal government’s response to COVID-19.
What are the deployed FEMA teams doing?
FEMA’s deployed staff work closely with state and local officials to assess their needs and provide support in addressing the COVID-19 threat. Additionally, HHS’s Services Crisis Action Task Force and other federal partners have fully integrated with the operation based at FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center.
Where are the testing sites?
FEMA and HHS, working rapidly with state, local and private sector partners, have stood up new testing options. Community-based testing sites are managed by the states, so we encourage you to check with your state and local health departments for information on where and how to get tested.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has additional information about testing for COVID-19.
Community-based testing sites
Community-based testing sites (CBTSs) are focused on testing our nation’s frontline heroes, healthcare facility workers and first responders, who are working around the clock to provide care, compassion, and safety to Americans. There are currently 92 sites open in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.
How do I know the symptoms since they are similar to other illnesses?
The best source of information on symptoms is www.coronavirus.gov, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of COVID-19 symptoms you may experience. If you think you may have coronavirus, be sure to consult with your physician or local health department.
Food, Employment and Financial Resources
Is there a place for people to apply for help if you are out of work and need financial assistance to pay bills and buy food?
States have varying unemployment and social service programs that may help those who are facing situations like the ones you described, so we recommend checking with your state first.
If we don’t have money to buy food for the quarantine, can we get help with food resources like we received during floods?
We recommend checking with your state to find out what types of food resources are available from government or local community organizations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also been in contact with states to provide support through their Food and Nutrition Service, which you can read about on their COVID-19 response page.
Does FEMA have recommendations for using bottled water during the COVID-19 pandemic?
What is being done to keep people safe from hoarding, price gouging and violence in stores?
State and local authorities are the best source of information about what specifically is being done in your community. If you suspect price gouging, check with your state Attorney General’s office for guidance on how to file a report.
I’ve heard that small businesses can get low interest loans while businesses are closed due to COVID-19. Where do I find information about this?
The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that small business owners can apply for a low-interest disaster loan due to COVID-19.
How to Help
Learn the best way to donate, volunteer or provide critical supplies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Doing Business with FEMA
I’d like to do business with FEMA, how do I get started?
If you are interested in doing business with FEMA, learn more at the Industry Liaison Program.
If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please provide us details on what you are offering.
To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, submit a price quote under the COVID-19 PPE and Medical Supplies Request for Quotation.