To increase public health funding for COVID-19, Dane County and the City of Madison are putting forth 2020 budget amendments.

According to a Wednesday, April 29, news release, Public Health Madison and Dane County would receive $694,068 through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), including $250,000 to support people in isolation to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The funding would also create two public health nurse positions with an emphasis on infection control, four disease intervention specialist positions to do contact tracing and two communications positions to support outreach.

Funding amendments for Public Health Madison and Dane County must be approved by both the City of Madison and Dane County. Pending this, the budget amendments are anticipated to be made effective June 1, the release states.

Public Health Madison and Dane County director Janel Heinrich said the infection control practitioners will provide in-person expertise within facilities serving some of the county’s most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the elderly.

“This role will help organizations manage and mitigate current outbreaks as well as provide preventative support and guidance for facilities that have not yet experienced a positive case of COVID-19,” she said in the news release. “We see this need when we are working with not just our area long-term care facilities, but across all essential businesses.”

County executive Joe Parisi said providing isolation support and contact tracers bolsters the county’s ability to contain illness and is instrumental to getting the county on a path to recovery. “Our public health department has done a phenomenal job responding to this pandemic, but we have a long way to go,” he said in the news release. “This funding gives them some much needed resources and tools to continue to respond to, and contain, COVID-19.”

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