Louisiana state government spending over $71 million on coronavirus response
Louisiana state government has more than $71 million in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is asking the federal government to fully reimburse all expenses as the state plans to spend more money to build new facilities that will house coronavirus patients.
According to the Advocate, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said Tuesday much of the cost stems from the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
So far the virus has infected almost 1400 people and killed 46. Governor John Bel Edwards requested this week that the White House declare the outbreak in Louisiana a major disaster saying the state has overwhelmed its stocks of key resources used by hospitals, first responders and emergency managers.
Should the White House grant the declaration, Louisiana would qualify for a full reimbursement of all cost spend on COVID-19 response, according to Dardenne.
The state is looking for facilities to house people who test positive for coronavirus but isn't necessarily sick enough to need hospitalization at an existing hospital. These facilities would allow hospitals to free up more beds for patients that need them.
Dardenne says more than $51 million of the total amount spent went towards supplies, including an extensive list of personal protection items for hospitals and other goods.
The Louisiana Department of Heath has spent close to $7.5 million. The Board of Regents, which oversees colleges and universities, lost approximately $16 million in revenue partly due to lost fees from students but has spent more than $1 million in response to the pandemic.
Dardenne's office, the division of Administration, has spent over $1 million in acquiring computers and other necessities needed for state workers to work from home.
The Governor said President Trump has approved such declarations in California, Washington, and New York. Governor Edwards has also repeated pointed out that Louisiana has one of the highest rate of coronavirus cases per capita, which has got the attention of officials that are trying to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed.