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Local and tribal health departments will share in $58.4 million awarded from Wisconsin’s share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act to help them absorb the added costs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Tony Evers announced the public health funding program Monday morning. Each department’s share will include a base amount and an additional sum based on the size of the population that the agency serves.
The governor’s office stated that the money will be used to help meet emerging COVID-19 public health needs, as well as needs exacerbated by the pandemic. Among the possible uses are testing, contact tracing, vaccination programs, public health staffing and improved technology, as well as services to address health disparities.
The ARPA funds announced Monday can be used for expenses incurred from March 3, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2024.
In a joint statement, the Wisconsin Public Health Association and the Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards praised the grants, but also cautioned they were a one-time infusion.
“While this new funding is a major investment in public health, it is not permanent,” the organizations stated. “We urge the State Legislature to significantly increase public health spending in future state budgets.”
The Evers administration has previously distributed $106.5 million in aid for local and tribal health departments to respond to the pandemic, according to the governor’s office.
This story has been updated.
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