New public health emergency makes way for additional FoodShare benefits

Additional FoodShare benefits will be provided to more than 220,000 households across Wisconsin after Gov. Tony Evers declared a public health emergency due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Wisconsin families received additional benefits in March, April and May, when Evers first declared a statewide public health emergency. Once the public health emergency lifted, the additional benefits ended along with it.

“The pandemic continues to affect all Wisconsinites, but especially those whose income has been negatively impacted,” said Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary of the Department of Health Services. “The ability for eligible households to access additional FoodShare benefits provides an important lifeline, and helps meet one of our most basic human needs.”

The second emergency declaration, issued by Evers at the end of July, allows for benefits to be retroactively added to QUEST cards for that month, as well as August.

Additional FoodShare benefits for July will be retroactively added to QUEST cards on Aug. 9 and additional benefits for August will be available on Aug. 23.

Wisconsin is able to provide households that receive FoodShare benefits with a maximum monthly amount based on the number of people in their household, through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service allows emergency benefits to be provided to states with declared public health emergencies.

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The amount received in FoodShare benefits is based on the number of people in a household.

Wisconsin confirmed six new COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, bringing the statewide death toll to 996.

The latest figures from the state Department of Health Services show there were 1,165 newly reported cases on Saturday, a single-day high that brings the state’s total to nearly 60,000.

About 16% of the cases are active.

A total of 1.04 million people have been tested for the coronavirus, including 13,162 reported Saturday. The new cases represent 8.9% of the tests conducted.

The number of people who have ever been hospitalized in the state was 4,980 on Saturday, up 50 from Friday.

There were 311 people hospitalized on Saturday, including 96 in intensive care. Health officials reported that another 152 people, all awaiting results of a coronavirus test, were also hospitalized.