KEY POINTS

  • The number of cases has been growing in the state at an increasing rate
  • Governor Ray Cooper requested the disaster designation looking at the severity of the outbreak
  • State, tribal, eligible local government, and certain nonprofit organizations will be the beneficiaries of federal emergency funding

President Donald Trump on Wednesday approved a disaster declaration for North Carolina as the state becomes a hotbed of the coronavirus outbreak. North Carolina Governor Ray Cooper appealed for the same a day prior.

The state now can avail federal emergency aid, which will be extended to tribes, eligible local governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said in a statement.

The disaster declarations of states like New York, California, Washington, Louisiana, Iowa, Texas and Florida were approved in a matter of a week.

Total cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina stood at 504 as of Thursday with 1 death, according to the state’s health department. The number of cases was exploding as labs and health care facilities across the state ramped up testing.

The first case in the state was reported on March 3 of a Wake County man with a travel history to Kirkland, Washington. He visited a senior care facility where there was an outbreak of the illness in later days, The News and Observer reported. The total number of cases jumped to 200 by March 21 and surpassed 300 just a day later. As of March 24, the count exceeded over 500.