“I am confident that the President will fully respond to my request to announce a major disaster within a few days so that we can offer more services to those who need it,” said the Democratic governor during a press conference in Lansing, Michigan.
The statement would allow the state to provide rent support and temporary housing, counseling, and therapy to residents of the state, as well as the ability to quickly set up field hospitals or other coronavirus patient care facilities.
By Thursday, 43 people in Michigan had died from the coronavirus, and the state currently has 2,294 cases of Covid-19, according to the CNN balance sheet. The Great Lake State currently ranks fifth in the United States with confirmed coronavirus cases.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, deputy chief director of health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said the state was “a few weeks from the top” of the coronavirus cases.
But she added that her target date for the top of the cases will improve as they can test more Michiganders.
Whitmer also said her state needed more ventilators and personal protective equipment, including masks and hospital gowns.
According to Khaldun, many of the state’s hospitals, especially in southeast Michigan, are “full or almost full”.
Whitmer told reporters that states are still involved in bidding against each other for PSA supplies.
“Our ability to meet needs is severely compromised when national inventory is unable to meet our needs and we are asked to find it ourselves,” she said. “Governor (J.B.) Pritzker in Illinois said, you know, we offer against each other that this is the Wild West, I think that’s how he put it.”
She added, “The fact is, as Americans, we shouldn’t bid against each other. We should be able to use federal power to make sure everyone has what they need. It doesn’t happen.”
Whitmer announced on March 10 that two Michigan residents allegedly tested positive for Covid-19 and declared the state of emergency. Within a week, she then banned large gatherings, closed all schools in Michigan, bars and restaurants, and only allowed take-out and delivery services.
This story has been updated with additional developments.