Wisconsin child care centers struggle as economy reopens — 6/3/21

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Credit: Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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Today we feature a story by WPR’s Shamane Mills, who reports that while many people are returning to work, child care remains scarce — and the industry is in trouble. Mills tells the story of Silke O’Donnell, who closed her Madison day care center after 27 years. “Last year was just so mentally stressful,” O’Donnell said. “I just made the decision that I’m going to quit a couple years early.” Mills reports that thousands of day care centers across the country have closed due to rising costs and falling enrollment during the pandemic, including many in Wisconsin.

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Children at Sunshine Family Daycare work on a craft at a table Monday, May 10, 2021, in Madison, Wis. Credit: Angela Major / WPR

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“I believe that this additional money that we’re giving is a disincentive to return to the workforce.”

State Rep. Donna Rozar, R-Marshfield, arguing in favor of a GOP plan to eliminate the additional $300 a week pandemic unemployment benefit

“We’re only at about 45% fully vaccinated, there are still people who are vulnerable who would love to go back to work, who maybe have kids at home. There is no vaccine right now for young children. I think we do need to take away the additional funding, I just think it’s premature.”

State Rep. Deb Andraca, D-Whitefish Bay, arguing against ending the extra benefit now

Data to Note

Click on the image above to see Wisconsin DHS COVID-19 vaccine data, which is updated daily.

Here’s a look at the Department of Health Services’ vaccine dashboard, which showed Thursday that 48.1% of Wisconsinites have received at least one vaccine dose, including 83.4% of those ages 65 and older. Meanwhile, 42.3% of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated, including 79.3% of those older than 65. Racial disparities persist in distributing vaccines. The shares of Black, Hispanic and Native American residents to receive a dose remain below that of white residents.

On Thursday, the state DHS reported a seven-day average of 143 new daily infections, continuing a long-term downward trend in new cases. The state also reported 19 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the full toll to 7,129. 

This chart from WisContext shows how infections, deaths and hospitalizations have disproportionately affected people of color in Wisconsin. 

Find a vaccine site near you

DHS and the federal government have partnered with Vaccine Finder to help Wisconsinites find vaccinations. Vaccinations are often by appointment, but providers are increasingly offering walk-in options. In addition, people seeking COVID-19 shots can text their ZIP code to 438829 to find nearby vaccine providers

COVID-19 fact-checking

Not sure if something you heard about COVID-19 is true? FactCheck.org offers this page full of explainers — and debunking of common distortions — about the disease to help you sort out fact from fiction. 

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Wisconsin child care centers struggle as economy reopens — 6/3/21 is a post from WisconsinWatch.org, a non-profit investigative news site covering Wisconsin since 2009. Please consider making a contribution to support our journalism.

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