Gov. Evers requests Wisconsin be prioritized with COVID-19 vaccine shipment
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Gov. Tony Evers asked federal health officials Thursday to prioritize Wisconsin when COVID-19 vaccine shipments begin to go out and to give the state extra doses.
Gov. Evers explained in a letter to U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar that Wisconsin is experiencing “unprecedented growth” of COVID-19, hospital systems are strained and healthcare facilities are experiencing staffing shortages. The governor also added that statewide mitigation efforts have been struck down and the legislature has not met in over 200 days.
“Given this and the outsized impact COVID-19 is having on our state, it is critical that Wisconsin be prioritized for vaccine allocation in quantities sufficient to vaccinate our healthcare workforce and with additional doses to be able to distribute to high-risk populations,” Gov. Evers said.
The governor requested that Wisconsin be sent vaccines first and with enough to vaccinate all 450,000 members of the state health care workforce and residents who are high-risk.
In a separate request to President Trump and Congress members on the same day, the governor pleaded with them to provide additional federal funding to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Gov. Evers noted that the state has made investments through the CARES Act, but that his administration is on pace to spend all the federal dollars received by Dec. 31 of 2020.
“In January, we will still have Wisconsinites in danger of losing their homes, businesses and non-profits on the verge of going under, and local governments feeling the strain COVID-19 has put on their budgets,” Gov. Evers said.
The governor explained that in order to continue their current COVID-19 response in the state for the first quarter of 2021, at a minimum, they would need $255 million for testing kits and lab diagnostics. Gov. Evers also requested $105 million for hospital system surge capacity, $58 million for COVID-19 testing sites, $36 million for contact tracing, $10 million for vaccine infrastructure readiness and $2 million for public health guidance and awareness.
Gov. Evers added that the Wisconsin National Guard has been key to their response efforts and it is “vital” that President Trump fully fund the service members so that they can continue their work.
Forty-one out of Wisconsin’s 72 counties are currently at critically high levels of COVID-19 activity and the governor noted that Wisconsin is one of the worst states in the country with regard to COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.
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