After a few prods from both Republican and Democratic Ohio officials, President Donald Trump officially declared the state a disaster area because of the coronavirus pandemic.


The designation Tuesday night of a “major disaster area” enables federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts since Jan. 20.


The move also frees federal funding for both the state and local governments, as well as some nonprofit organizations, for emergency protective measures.


During his daily briefing earlier Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he was unconcerned that the president had not yet granted disaster status, which the governor requested Saturday.


The state’s two U.S. senators and the entire 16-member congressional delegation sent a joint letter Monday urging Trump to “act swiftly” on DeWine’s request. Ohio House Democrats added their voices Tuesday morning.


Tuesday night, Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown said in a joint statement: “We appreciate the administration’s quick approval of Governor DeWine’s request for a major disaster declaration.


“This pandemic has created significant and unprecedented challenges and local governments do not have the capacity to sufficiently respond to this major disaster. Therefore, this additional federal assistance is necessary to supplement response and recovery efforts.”


drowland@dispatch.com


@darreldrowland