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Governor Edwards meets with FEMA officials on weather, holds COVID presser

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Posted at 11:02 AM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 18:15:31-04

Governor Edwards will meet today with FEMA officials as Louisiana awaits a potential tropical system.

Edwards spoke with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell at the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

Edwards says that as the state keeps an eye on the system in the Gulf, residents are encouraged to prepare for this storm and any others this season. One of the main stresses is that residents get the COVID-19 vaccine so that if evacuation is neccessary, residents can easily move out of the storms path and be housed if needed.

Edwards says that he is looking forward to continue to work with FEMA and federal partners as the state continues to recover from last hurricane season and recent flooding.

"We have invested significantly in Louisiana," he said. "We are happy to talk about funding we are receiving."

At the press conference, it was announced that $136 million dollars in FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding has been allocated for Louisiana parishes impacted by Hurricanes Laura and Delta. This is the latest installment in HMGP funding that will be added to the $40 million dollar allocation announced in November. That brings the total in HMGP funding for Louisiana to $176 million.

Funding through the federal HMGP can be used on projects that potentially save lives and reduce property loss. Working with our local partners, the goal is to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to life and property by lessening the impact of a disaster. Hazard mitigation is the only phase of emergency management specifically dedicated to breaking the cycle of damage, reconstruction and repeat damage.

In addition to the funding for impacted parishes, Governor Edwards allocated $20 million for regional projects in coordination with the Louisiana Watershed Initiative.

Funding requires a 25-percent match by the grantee. All options are being examined to help local officials with that step.

Governor Edwards began his Thursday afternoon COVID press conference with a short celebration.

The Mahogany Brass Band played "You are my Sunshine" as he and other state officials entered the room. The celebration was for a new vaccination incentive.

"The good times are beginning to roll again," Edwards said. "We have safe and effective vaccines that are our ticket back to full normalcy."

At the press conference, the governor announced a million dollar prize initiative for July. Edwards says that 14 Louisianans with one shot can win cash scholarships and prizes

The Louisiana Department of Health is offering the chance to win $100,000 every week starting July 9th and a grand prize of $1,000,000 at the end of the month to all Louisiana residents ages 18+ who have chosen to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — all you have to do is enter.

Louisiana residents ages 12-17 who have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine are eligible to win one of nine $100,000 scholarships.

In total, $2.3 million dollars will be given out to Louisiana residents for getting the vaccine. More information can be found on the campaigns website or call 1-877-356-1511.
Registration for the shot in a million campaign begins on Monday, June 22, 2021 at noon.

It is Louisiana's lottery program that has been seen in other states. Edwards says the state waited to see how other states have done before choosing to do this shot at a million project.
"This is a win win for everyone and a win for our state," he said.

Dr. Joseph Kanter with LDH says the state has a lot to be thankful for but that does not mean the state is out of the woods. He says the shot at a million will bring some excitement to get the state where we want to be.
"We still report people who have passed away from COVID," he said. "When lives are on the line, you want to try everything. We think this program will help with that."

Kanter says that cases are low in Louisiana but we should continue to keep them low.

1.7 million individuals have received at least one shot, Kanter said. That is 37 percent of the population.

There are 6 cases of the Delta variant in the state of Louisiana, Kanter said.

Edwards did touch on the expected weather heading to the state. He said Thursday that the outlook is still uncertain but the National Weather Service is continuing to monitor this storm. He urged residents to go to getagameplan.org to be prepared for this and other storms.

Edwards says that the reason for the delay in details is because the storm has yet to start moving north and organize. There is no time frame for when the storm will make landfall. Edwards said it is expected this weekend but could not provide an exact date.

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