The Trump administration is renewing the public health emergency declaration for the coronavirus, ensuring key resources for fighting the pathogen will be in place well past Election Day.
The news, which HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced in a Friday afternoon tweet, comes just hours after President Donald Trump announced he tested positive for the coronavirus.
The background: The declaration unlocks critical powers that have helped the administration boost telehealth, enabled increased Medicaid funding and allowed cash-strapped local health departments to reassign federally funded personnel to respond to the virus.
This is the third time Azar is extending the emergency declaration, which must be renewed every 90 days. The latest renewal comes without weeks of speculation over whether the administration would let the declaration lapse.
Earlier this summer, governors and health groups for weeks had urged the administration to renew the powers, worried that they would expire — despite Trump officials' assurances they would extend the declaration. This time, Azar announced the renewal nearly three weeks before the declaration was set to end, providing certainty to local health officials and health industry groups preparing for the virus to rebound this fall.
What’s next: The renewal will take effect Oct. 23, and the emergency declaration is now scheduled to lapse right after the next presidential inauguration.