By John Schulze, ABC of Wisconsin Director of Legal & Government Relations
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is directing more than $1 billion in federal funds for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, emergency operations and supplies. Here is a brief summary:
- $445 million (about ¼) to hospitals and communities to help them prepare for a surge in COVID-19 patients in summer and fall
- $260 million for testing efforts
- $200 million to state agencies to get emergency operations established to deal with the pandemic
- $150 million to acquire personal protective equipment
- $40 million to purchase 1,500 ventilators. Wisconsin currently has 1,251 ventilators available and is using only 295
- $75 million for contact tracing
- $45 million for local public health departments, occupational health providers, home health agencies, and health systems to conduct COVID19 testing
- $50 million in direct payments for agriculture
- $10 million for local and tribal public health departments to coordinate local testing efforts
- $3 million in grants to 96 local and tribal health departments ($30,000 each)
- $50 million in direct payments to farmers, and $15 million to fund food banks, pantries, and other nonprofit hunger groups
- $25 million to provide up to $3,000 in direct financial assistance for owed rent, security deposits, and wrap around services for those residents with a household income at or below 80% of the county median income
This comprises more than $1.3 billion federal COVID-19 dollars. Gov. Evers is still expected to allocate another $300 million.
This latest announcement is in addition to two new grant programs directed at small employers:
- $75 million in $2,500 grants to small businesses to help cover the cost of business interruption, health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages, an inventory. Business will be able to apply in early June.
- $2 million in grants of $2,000 each for ethnic minority businesses with five or fewer employees that have not received assistance under the federal programs.