Updated 5:04 p.m.
President Trump said Sunday he has activated the National Guard to New York, California and Washington, states that so far have been hit hardest by the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will fund the deployment of the Guard, Trump said.
"This action will give them maximum flexibility to use the Guard against the virus without having to worry about costs and liability," Trump said. "And [it frees] up state resources to protect the health and safety of the people in their state."
Watch the briefing here:
Trump also said his administration has committed to providing mobile medical centers with thousands of hospital beds to those three states, which have requested the federal government's assistance, as hospitals deplete their medical supply reserves as the novel coronavirus has sent hospital demand surging.
The supplies, including N95 masks and gloves, will be delivered to California and New York in the next 48 hours, Trump said.
Trump remarks come hours after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appealed to Trump to nationalize the effort to acquire protective medical supplies — including masks, gowns and gloves — that are increasingly scarce.
Cuomo said so many states are attempting to acquire a depleted supply that governors are outbidding one another for essential equipment and driving prices up.
"I think the federal government should order factories to manufacture masks, gowns, ventilators," Cuomo said. "The essential medical equipment, that's going to make a difference between life and death."
Trump, meanwhile, says the federal government is marshaling all of its resources to help ease the burden states are shouldering.
The USNS Mercy hospital ship, now based in San Diego, will move to Los Angeles to help free up space in hospitals overwhelmed by coronavirus patients.
The USNS Comfort, the Mercy's counterpart, was set to head to New York Harbor to help alleviate virus-related hospital strain.
"They are wartime ships. They're meant for war," Trump said. "These rooms are as good as anywhere in the nation."
The update from the task force came as congressional leaders continue to search for an agreement on the latest — and largest — coronavirus response bill.
Vice President Mike Pence said the White House's coronavirus task force will on Monday update guidance for the nation's law enforcement and others working on critical infrastructure.
On coronavirus testing, Pence said more than 250,000 Americans had received tests and results, as of Sunday. He added: "We should be caught up on the backlog in testing by the middle of the week."
Pence urged commercial labs to prioritize inpatient testing, with new guidance for the labs expected on Monday.
The White House has asked those without symptoms to not seek coronavirus tests. That's because the very act of administering a test takes up medical resources that are in short supply.
But hours before, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul became the first U.S. senator to announce he's tested positive for COVID-19. Paul is asymptomatic and in quarantine and "was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events," according to his deputy chief of staff.
When asked on Sunday when the last time he had been in contact with Paul, Trump said it's "been a long time."
The global death toll from the virus has now surpassed 14,000 people, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Within the U.S., there were more than 31,000 cases as of Sunday afternoon.
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