President Trump declares major disaster in Maryland due to coronavirus, releasing funds after request from Gov. Larry Hogan

President Donald Trump released more funding to Maryland on Thursday night after declaring that a major disaster exists in the state amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Gov. Larry Hogan said the funding comes hours after a phone call with the president and other White House officials where he pushed for disaster declarations.


Maryland senators also wrote a letter to Trump on Wednesday, asking him to grant the disaster declaration request from Hogan because the state and local jurisdictions had already worked together to release additional funding for the coronavirus response.

With the declaration of a major disaster in the state, Maryland will be eligible for reimbursement for the Emergency Protective Measures taken by state and local government agencies and certain nonprofit groups. It also provides a wide range of federal assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said, including money for both emergency and permanent work.


“We are pleased that our federal partners answered our calls for action and swiftly granted Maryland’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “This declaration will help provide much-needed funding for state and local governments and nonprofits, and it will be another important step in Maryland’s aggressive and coordinated response to COVID-19.”

Trump, a Republican, granted the same requests to several other states, including Missouri and Illinois.

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Maryland could potentially receive more funding if further assessments demonstrate a need and Hogan requests it, the White House said.

Hogan’s request comes after Maryland reported 580 confirmed cases of COVID-19, jumping 157 cases over a 24-hour period. The number of confirmed cases in the National Capital Region has quadrupled over the past week, the governor’s office said.

As chairman of the National Governors Association, Hogan also continued to press for further action on the five requests he submitted to the president and Vice President Mike Pence last week:

  • Dedicate at least 50 percent of supplemental funding to the states, including direct funding, and act quickly on waiver requests
  • Increase access to PPE, masks, test kits, extraction kits, and accelerating the production of life-saving equipment, such as ventilators
  • Support Title 32 authorization to give governors maximum flexibility for use of the National Guard
  • Provide guidance on implementation of Defense Production Act to include what health and medical resources Secretary of Health and Human Services Azar is prioritizing under his new authority
  • Allow more time and flexibility for completion of both the census and the transition to REAL ID

To help secure the federal funding, Hogan was required to prove the severity of COVID-19 across Maryland as well as demonstrate the amount of state and local resources that have been or will be committed to help resolve the pandemic, according to FEMA. Hogan then had to provide an estimate of the type and amount of assistance needed.

The governor also committed that state and local government will help cover “significant proportions,” FEMA said, and will “comply with all applicable cost-sharing requirements.”

Major disaster declarations are usually reserved for storms, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. However, the declaration can be made by the president for any event that “has caused damage of such severity that it is beyond the combined capabilities of state and local governments to respond.”


“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on our entire state and country unlike anything we have seen before,” said Russell Strickland, executive director for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. “We have been working alongside Governor Hogan and our local partners to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of all Marylanders. This declaration is an important and necessary step to continue on our path of resilience.”