Tuesday, May 19, 2020

$1 billion in CARES heading to Wisconsin for supplies, local help, and more

Today we found out how much of the state's $2 billion in federal funding to deal with COVID-19 and the related economic fallout will be used. Governor Evers announced today that much of it will go toward testing, supplies and local aids.

It begins with using the money to give large amounts of test kits to several places.
COVID-19 test kits: Everyone who needs a test should receive a test. The state’s testing program will spend $202 million to provide COVID-19 test collection kits to Wisconsin hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, local public health departments, and others at no cost to ensure that everyone who needs a test receives a test.
There also is $75 million to pay for contact tracing efforts both at the state and local levels.
Of the $75 million, up to $50 million will be available to local and tribal public health departments to hire additionalstaff to perform disease investigation, contact tracing and monitoring. The remaining funds will go towards technology resources and hiring additional state staff to supplement local efforts to quickly and effectively conduct interviews.
The Evers plan also sets aside $150 million to buy PPE for frontline health care workers and local governments, and $40 million to purchase ventilators. Both seem to be intended to keep the burdens of this needed equipment from falling onto hospitals and local entities.

The rest of this chunk of federal dollars will help health care facilities and local governments prepare for future waves of COVID-19, and to repay the costs that state agencies have already taken on in dealing with this pandemic.
There is a great deal of concern that lifting of the Safer at Home may result in a surge of COVID-19 related patients. Additionally, there is uncertainty regarding the resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall. Approximately $445 million is being allocated to ensure Wisconsin hospital systems and communities are prepared to handle a surge of COVID19 patients over the summer and fall.

In addition to the SEOC programs described above, state agencies across Wisconsin have expended significant funds, approximately $200 million, in support of getting these emergency operations up and running and of providing important resources and assistance to local partners across the state.Additionally, state agencies have incurred direct costs associated with the operational impacts of COVID-19.
Hard to tell if there is a formula or earmark to decide how much each community may get, but it does look like a lot of this is going to be funneled down to the local levels for tangible supplies and aid.

It also looks like the Evers Administration is going to be sending out $175 million to K-12 schools as part of CARES aids to help pay for the costs of expanding online instruction and other modifications that have resulted due to COVID-19. Another $46 million in K-12 aid through CARES seems to be coming later, and seems to be intended to stabilize school finances with the looming collapse of available money at the local level. There also has been $51 million in CARES money approved and set aside to help Wisconsin child care centers in the last week, and there should be a few other details on the remaining federal assistance in the coming weeks.

So keep an eye on these announcements, particularly given that there seems to be building heat on whether federal money is getting taken out of DC and used to deal with the economic and social damage from COVID-19. And it seems like it'll go very fast once it gets to Wisconsin, meaning that the well runs dry by the end of this year. Which means that you'd hope these responses will diminish the need to spend big dollars for more aid and treatments in 2021, but obviously time will tell on that one.

1 comment:

  1. Reading the Governor's press releases it looks like he is making the decisions on where the the money will go. The legislature is not part of the process. Finally an adult is in charge.