The Obama administration has declared the spreading Zika virus in Puerto Rico a public health emergency, giving the U.S. territory access to funding to fight the virus.

Puerto Rico's government already declared a public health emergency in February, but the federal government did not do the same thing. Now that it has done so, Puerto Rico can get access to certain funds and request more staff from the federal government, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Puerto Rico has been hit hard by the Zika virus, which spreads primarily via mosquito bites and can cause the birth defect microcephaly.

As of Aug. 10, about 6,500 cases of Zika have been found in Puerto Rico, with the vast majority being from local transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HHS said 1,035 pregnant women have been infected with Zika.

The agency said that through the public health declaration, Puerto Rico's government can apply for funding to hire and train unemployed workers to assist in killing mosquitoes and spread the word about Zika.

Puerto Rico also can request the temporary reassignment of local public health department or federal personnel who are funded through federal programs in Puerto Rico to assist with Zika.

The declaration comes as Congress is engaged in a fierce partisan battle over not approving funding to fight the virus before adjourning for the summer last month.

Republicans called on Democrats to pass a $1.1 billion package that was approved by the House. However, Democrats stalled that package in the Senate due to concerns about several provisions, including taking money from Obamacare programs and blocking Planned Parenthood in Puerto Rico from any of the money.

Nearly 30 cases of mosquito-borne transmission have been found in the U.S., which officials believe is still centrally located in a one-square-mile radius of Miami.