COVID-19 UPDATES FOR COUNTY OFFICIALS

As issues continue to develop and change at a quick rate with COVID-19, the Coronavirus, we at the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) are working alongside Governor Tony Evers, the Administration, the National Association of Counties (NACo) and our general counsel, von Briesen & Roper, s.c., (von Briesen) to provide the latest resources and updates to assist county officials during this unprecedented time.

COVID-19 Daily Update: 4.22.2020

April 22, 2020

COVID-19 DAILY HEALTH UPDATE
(Information from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) current as of 1:00 p.m. Central, Wednesday, April 22, 2020)

  • Total people with negative results: 49,502 (+1,661)
  • Total people with positive results: 4,845 (+225)
  • Hospitalizations: 1,302 (+50) or 26%
  • Total deaths: 246 (+4)

REMINDER: REQUEST ALLOCATION OF 30% OF CARES ACT STATE FUNDING TO WISCONSIN COUNTIES!
The Wisconsin Counties Association has received many questions regarding federal funds received by the state through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, of which Wisconsin will receive an estimated $2.3 billion. These funds are to be used for expenses incurred in response to the public health emergency between March 1 and December 31, 2020. Counties are facing immediate financial shortfalls, along with the many unknown future fiscal ramifications this virus will have on county budgets.

As a result, the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) sent a letter to Governor Evers Monday requesting counties be allocated a specified percentage of federal funds received by the state through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Funds from the CARES Act, of which Wisconsin will receive an estimated $2.3 billion, are to be used for expenses incurred in response to the public health emergency between March 1 and December 31, 2020. However, WCA is working closely with NACo, the White House, and Congress to seek modifying language, permitting use of CARES Act funds for lost revenue (e.g., reductions in county sales or property taxes). It is WCA’s understanding that Governor Evers has sole discretion on the allocation of the funds; in other words, expenditure does not require legislative approval.

Consistent with congressional action, a portion of the $2.3 billion is expected to be distributed from U.S. Treasury directly to local governments with a population of 500,000 or more. This means only Dane County, the City of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County (who will only receive a partial payment) will receive funds directly from the federal government. No other Wisconsin county is guaranteed any funding at this point.

WCA has requested the Governor, consistent with other states around the county, allocate 30% of the CARES Act funds to counties. These funds are vital to the continuation of county services across the state.

IF YOU HAVEN’T DONE SO YET, PLEASE CONTACT GOVERNOR EVERS TODAY AND REQUEST HE PROVIDE 30% OF STATE FUNDS RECEIVED FROM THE FEDERAL CARES ACT TO WISCONSIN COUNTIES.

Governor Tony Evers
608-266-1212
eversinfo@wisconsin.gov

NOTE: Late today, the U.S. Treasury released guidance on the Coronavirus Relief Fund (Section 5001 of the CARES Act). Please see the story below for more information.

Q AND A: CARES ACT STATE FUNDING AND ALLOCATION TO COUNTIES
Below please find commonly asked questions on the CARES Act’s state funding and allocation to counties. As always, don’t hesitate to contact the Association with additional questions.

U.S. TREASURY RELEASES GUIDANCE FOR STATE, LOCAL AND TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS REGARDING CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUND
Today, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin released guidance for State, Local, and Tribal Governments regarding the Coronavirus Relief Fund (Section 5001 of the CARES Act). 

As stated by the legislation signed by President Trump on March 27, 2020, the use of funds “are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19).” The guidance document (here) and frequently asked questions (here) provide, in detail, examples of eligible and ineligible expenditures of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund. You can find additional information about Assistance to State and local governments here.

Following extensive negotiations between the Trump Administration and Congressional Leaders, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). The $2.2 trillion economic relief package provides American families, healthcare workers, and small businesses with the economic support they need to get through this challenging time. This aid comes on top of the Family First Coronavirus Aid Package, enacted last month.
State/Local/Tribal provisions include:

  • $150 billion in direct aid to State, Tribal, and local governments. Aid will be allocated primarily by a State’s population with each State receiving at least $1.25 billion.
  • $340 billion in additional emergency supplemental funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
  • $500 billion for loans and guarantees that authorize the U.S. Treasury to support eligible businesses and States and local governments to cover losses incurred as a result of COVID-19.
  • $100 billion for hospitals and health care facilities to reimburse expenses or lost revenues not otherwise reimbursed that are directly attributable to COVID-19. 
  • $3.5 billion to allow States to expand childcare benefits for healthcare workers, first responders, and others on the frontlines of this crisis.
  • Read more here: President Donald J. Trump Is Providing Economic Relief to American Workers, Families, and Businesses Impacted by the Coronavirus

NEW STATE WEBSITE ENABLES HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS TO REQUEST COVID-19 LAB TESTING SUPPLIES
On Monday, April 20, the State of Wisconsin launched a new website for health care providers to request COVID-19 testing supplies.

The State of Wisconsin is making supplies available to facilitate laboratory COVID-19 testing at no charge for qualifying Wisconsin clinicians, local and tribal health centers, clinical laboratories and others collecting specimens in response to COVID-19. The supplies provided through the site are intended to help Wisconsin achieve the goal of providing testing for all who have influenza like illness symptoms.

TODAY’S NACO COUNTY NEWS NOW
On Wednesday, April 22, 2020 the National Association of Counties (NACo) released their latest issue of County News Now.