As the number of known cases in the United States crossed 31,700, California officials told hospitals to restrict coronavirus testing, and a hospital in Washington State warned that it could run out of life-preserving ventilators by early next month. Washington State’s Department of Health told local leaders that only the highest-priority areas would have access to the government’s reserves of protective equipment, including N95 masks.
Mr. Trump said that major disaster declarations were in process for New York, California and Washington — the three states hardest hit by the virus — and that they would not have to pay for deploying National Guard units.
“Through FEMA, the federal government will be funding 100 percent of the cost of deploying National Guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus, while those governors remain in command,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump placed National Guard units from California, New York and Washington under Title 32 authority. This means the troops from these states will still be under the control of their state’s governors but will be supporting a federal mission, much like the roughly 2,200 National Guard soldiers currently on the southern border.
Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, the head of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters Sunday that the troops will support the Department of Health and Human Services with testing and at medical facilities, as well as provide unspecified support for FEMA.
“We’re in this for the long haul,” General Lengyel said. “It’s a historic event and it’s going to require a historic response.”
Mr. Trump also said during the Sunday conference that he had directed FEMA to supply four large federal medical stations with 1,000 beds for New York, eight large federal medical stations with 2,000 beds for California, and three large federal medical stations and four small federal medical stations with 1,000 beds for the State of Washington.