Federal assistance approved for Floridians ahead of Hurricane Isaias

Seminole County officials said the federal dollars help pay for their hurricane response

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – As Central Florida counties prepare for Hurricane Isaias, Governor Ron DeSantis announced they will get the help they need now that the federal disaster warning was approved.

"We just got word this morning that that has been approved and will contain reimbursement for direct federal assistance, as well as all the mass care so the feeding and sheltering will be eligible for federal reimbursement through FEMA, which we very much appreciate," DeSantis said during a news conference Saturday morning.

[RELATED: LIVE TRACK: Forecast cone, computer models, updates as Hurricane Isaias approaches Florida]

Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris said the federal dollars help pay for their hurricane response. He said it is a balancing act between public safety and costs. He adds it is more expensive this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It requires more staff, it requires more medical staff, more personal protective equipment," Harris said. "We've never given out personal protective equipment, masks, gloves, and hand sanitizing at the shelters, but that all has to be ready."

Don Walker, a spokesperson for Brevard County, said the declaration frees up funds for the county to help them respond during an emergency, especially as they monitor the hurricane's track and determine if they need to open shelters.

[MORE: State of emergency declared on Florida’s east coast as Hurricane Isaias approaches]

“We’d want to be able to do health screenings, temperature checks. We also need to do social distancing, which would require us to open more shelters than we might normally open and all of that comes at a cost,” Walker said.

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