Even though there are only 5 cases of COVID-19 in Erie County, all of whom are either young people recuperating at home, or one college student who tested positive after returning home to eastern New York, County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, following the lead of Governor Wolf, issued a stay at home order for county residents. Following right on her heels, Erie Mayor, Joe Schember, declared a state of emergency. No hospitalizations for the coronavirus and no fatalities, but an emergency was declared anyway. Oddly enough, a hospital just next door in Crawford County, Meadville Medical Center, is laying off 200 employees due to lack of work as many departments are closing down. It makes you wonder what our local officials are thinking, but it’s not very hard to figure out.
… by officially declaring a state of emergency “it helps ensure that we can be reimbursed by the federal government for any expenses incurred by the city” related to combating the coronavirus.
… the emergency declaration is important to obtain federal funding in response to covid-19. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the city for up to 75 percent of emergency costs incurred while under an emergency declaration, Schember said.
It’s no secret the City of Erie is in very poor financial straits and the county is certainly not flush with cash, what better way to get a dollar infusion than to declare a state of emergency and request FEMA reimbursement.
Could it be that simple? Yes.