After Friday’s 7.0 southcentral Alaska earthquake was declared a federal and state disaster over the weekend, the U.S. government has now classified it as a public health emergency.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s declaration was made Monday, according to a statement from the department.

“The declaration triggers other legal authorities that give the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) beneficiaries, their healthcare providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs in the aftermath of the earthquake,” HHS officials wrote.

“HHS is working closely with state health authorities and monitoring the needs of healthcare facilities,” Azar said. “This declaration will help ensure that Americans who were affected by the earthquake and rely on Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program have continuous access to the care as the area recovers.”

According to the HHS website, Azar’s declaration remains in effect for the next 90 days.

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