Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday, May 19, announced a $1 billion statewide COVID-19 response effort funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES.
The funding will go toward coronavirus testing and contact tracing as well as acquiring supplies and supporting emergency operations, according to a news release.
A component of the effort is around $3 million in preparedness grants for 96 local and tribal health departments — $30,000 for each — to support COVID-19 testing into the fall. Up to $50 million also will be able to local governments to hire additional staff to investigate, track and monitor the spread of the respiratory illness.
The announcement came a week after the state Supreme Court struck down the Evers administration's extended Safer at Home order, effectively ending the governor's Badger Bounce Back plan for gradually reopening the state economy. The ruling prompted cities and counties to implement or consider local pandemic guidelines.
“As I’ve said before, regardless of the political overtones of the past week, we still know what we need to do to box in this virus and help keep people safe,” Evers said in a news release. “Our statewide approach to containing the spread of COVID-19 will continue with robust testing and contact tracing efforts in all corners of Wisconsin, resources that ensure our critical workers have the equipment they need to do their jobs safely, and direct investments in local communities and health providers."
Today we announced our robust $1 billion statewide effort to support #COVID19 testing, contact tracing, operations, and resources for local communities.— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) May 19, 2020
The state's testing program, supported by the Wisconsin National Guard, aimed to increase capacity to 85,000 tests per week, or around 12,000 tests per day. The testing capacity as of Monday, May 18, was 13,392 tests per day, according to the Department of Health Services.
Some $445 million will go to hospital systems and communities to be ready if the overturning of Safer at Home restrictions causes a surge in COVID-19 cases this summer, the news release states.
“Our public health experts continue to recommend that folks stay home as much as possible, limit travel, wear a face mask in public, and practice good hygiene,” Evers said. “I also urge anyone who needs a test to go get tested at one of our community testing sites and help protect your community and family from this virus.”
There were a total of 12,885 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin as of Tuesday and 467 deaths, according to DHS.