State To Provide Aid To Hospitals Hurt By Lost Revenue, Added Expenses During Pandemic

DHS: 21,926 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Wisconsin

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hospital nurse hooks an IV to a flu patient
David Goldman/AP Photo

There have been 21,926 positive cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin as of Thursday, according to the state Department of Health Services. That’s an increase of 333 cases from the day before.

According to health officials, 682 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19 as of Thursday afternoon.

DHS reported 366,054 total negative tests for the coronavirus, an increase of 8,942 from Wednesday to Thursday.

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As of Thursday, 70 percent of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered, according to DHS. Three percent have died from the virus.

Wisconsin’s daily testing capacity — based on the availability of test supplies and adequate staffing — has grown from 120 available lab tests in early March to 16,153 as of Thursday. An increase in testing is one reason for the increase in the number of positive cases. The percentage of positive tests was 3.6 percent on Thursday, up from 2.8 percent on Wednesday.

Even though the state is able to process 16,153 tests, on Thursday, 8,942 tests were reported.

Wisconsin has seen a 14-day downward trajectory in the percentage of positive tests — a key metric signifying COVID-19 is under control. But as of Tuesday, Wisconsin no longer met the 14-day downward trajectory for a decrease in COVID-like symptoms.

According to DHS, 2,976 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Thursday. That means at least 14 percent of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus in the state have been hospitalized. DHS officials said they don’t know the hospitalization history of 6,384 people, or 29 percent.

There have been confirmed cases in all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties — though not all cases are currently active.

Evers Announces Direct Payments For Hospitals Impacted By COVID-19

Wisconsin hospitals will be receiving direct payments from the state to assist with lost revenue and added expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Tony Evers announced the new $40 million program on Thursday. Hospitals will receive a one-time payment from DHS for losses and expenses in March, April and May that have not been reimbursed by another program or insurance. The payment will be based on the hospital’s percentage of Medicaid claims compared to all Medicaid claims in the state.

DHS plans to reach out to hospitals with more details of the program. Evers said the state expects to make the payments by the second week in July.

The new program will be funded by money from the federal coronavirus relief bill.

State officials also announced a new federal grant that will expand crisis counseling services for people impacted by COVID-19.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Wisconsin Emergency Management received a $675,526 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The funding will help community action agencies provide counseling to those experiencing anxiety and stress as a result of the pandemic. Services will be delivered by phone and online to comply with social distancing.

“Limiting close contact with each other protects everyone’s health, including those who are most vulnerable. It also helps ensure vital health care resources remain available for those who need them. But knowing that doesn’t make it easy. This funding will be used to promote healthy ways to cope and stay strong,” DHS Secretary Andrea Palm said in a press release.

According to DHS, the program will be offered in “areas with the greatest need”, which includes Brown, Dane, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine, Rock, and Walworth counties. The department said services should be available by early July.

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