The Latest: US declares a public health emergency post-Ida

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A massive oak, toppled by Hurricane Ida, stretches across a New Orleans street, stretching utility lines and resting against the fronts of two houses on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Kevin McGill)

WASHINGTON —(AP) U.S. health officials Monday declared public health emergencies for Louisiana and Mississippi, seeking to suspend government red tape that may get in the way of providing help to people affected by Hurricane Ida.

The emergency declaration by Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra puts a pause on certain payment rules and other requirements that could become an unwelcome distraction for hospitals and doctors trying to provide services under stressful conditions.

One example is a requirement that health care professionals be licensed in the state they provide care.

HHS has also staged an incident management team in Dallas to provide coordination of federal health and medical support after Ida passes through the region. Another team is providing support for people needing kidney dialysis.

People in emotional distress in affected areas can call 1-800-985-5990 for counseling help, or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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