TUE AM News: DATCP ending order banning poultry from live events; Median home price in Wisconsin continues to rise

— A spokesman for DATCP says the lack of new avian flu cases in Wisconsin over the past month is “definitely promising.” 

The agency yesterday lifted a statewide order prohibiting movement of poultry to live events, as 30 days had passed since the last case of highly pathogenic avian influenza had been confirmed in the state. HPAI is a more deadly strain of the bird flu. 

Kevin Hoffman, public information officer for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, noted 22 cases have been detected in 14 counties in Wisconsin between March 14 and May 20. That includes both commercial and domestic flocks. No new cases have been identified since then. 

“Today is the first day people are allowed to move poultry to live events like shows, exhibitions, swaps and those sorts of things,” he said yesterday in an interview. “Of course, we still want them to use biosecurity [measures] because we don’t know if the virus is still prevalent out there, and just to be safe we still want people to be doing those security precautions.” 

That includes owners of backyard flocks disinfecting cages, wearing different clothing and shoes around their birds to avoid cross-contamination, and avoiding contact between their animals and those from other locations when possible. He said the agency will likely be recommending these measures continue throughout the summer and into the fall. 

“Fewer confirmed cases is definitely promising,” he said. “We’re also receiving fewer calls on our avian influenza response line, fewer sick bird calls are coming in, so that’s a sign of hope as well.” 

Still, he noted cases are still being reported in the northeastern United States and Canada. 

“We feel better now that birds have migrated through Wisconsin … we do know that waterfowl are one of the primary spreaders of that,” he said. “But we don’t know, there’s just a lot of uncertainty.” 

As the state enters the summer fair season, Hoffman said officials are hoping the order being lifted will “alleviate some of that pressure” on organizers as birds can once again be brought to live events. He added “it’s still a little early to tell” if HPAI has had a significant impact on the state’s poultry industry. 

See an earlier story on HPAI in Wisconsin: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2022/hpai-poses-threat-to-poultry-industry-expert-says/ 

See DATCP’s release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/datcp-lifts-state-order-prohibiting-poultry-at-live-events/ 

— The median home price in Wisconsin continues to rise, the latest Wisconsin Realtors Association report shows. 

According to the group’s May report, the median home price in the state increased 11.8 percent over the year, from $246,000 in May 2021 to $275,000 in May 2022. 

WRA President and CEO Mike Theo says affordability is falling due to “significant annual increases” in both home prices and mortgage rates. 

“We expect these trends to continue throughout 2022,” he said in a statement. “However, eventually demand pressure will moderate, and this will reduce the seller’s advantage in the market.” 

Meanwhile, monthly home sales declined 5.6 percent over the same period, from 7,652 in May 2021 to 7,222 last month. 

Report authors note “very tight inventories” are keeping sales down while exerting “strong upward pressure” on prices in the state. Total listings fell 15 percent over the year, from 22,938 to 19,488, the report shows. And realtors in the state had 2.6 months of inventory in May, which has fallen 13.3 percent from the prior year. 

“This remains a very strong seller’s market, and homes are moving quickly,” report authors wrote. “Average days on the market fell 13.7 percent in the last 12 months to just 63 days.” 

WRA’s report also spotlights regional differences, with lower home sales numbers over the year in five of the state’s six regions. Sales reductions equalled 10.1 percent in the south central region; 9.9 percent in the north region; 7.9 percent in the central region; 4.3 percent in the southeast region; and 2.7 percent in the northeast region. Home sales were unchanged over the year in western Wisconsin. 

Brad Lois, chairman of the WRA Board of Directors, highlights “significant unmet housing demand” from millennial buyers, which he expects will “fuel the state housing market through the prime summer sales market.” 

See the full report: 


— The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands has approved nearly $25 million for community projects in Wisconsin so far this year. 

That’s according to a release from the Office of the State Treasurer, which shows 48 funded projects are located in 26 Wisconsin counties. Funding will go toward roadwork and bridge repairs, new fire trucks and other equipment, energy efficiency efforts and more. 

See the release: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2022/wisconsin-office-of-the-state-treasurer-treasurer-godlewski-bcpl-chair-announces-over-24-million-in-support-of-community-projects-so-far-in-2022/ 

— Nearly 80 percent of respondents in a recent survey of employees in the state said they’re reducing their work hours due to caregiving responsibilities. 

The survey was conducted last fall by the Wisconsin Family and Caregiver Support Alliance and the UW-Madison Division of Extension, tapping 564 workers in the state. Representatives from the Community Living Alliance and the Department of Health Services discussed results in an interview hosted by WisconsinEye. 

Patti Jo Becker, director of operations for the Community Living Alliance, says the state’s aging population is putting more pressure on caregivers as the long-predicted “silver tsunami” is hitting Wisconsin. A 2019 report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum shows the state’s senior population had grown by 42 percent since 2005, and this trend is projected to continue. 

“When we were talking about that 20 years ago, we were talking about ‘it’s coming, there’s going to be this workforce crisis’ — well, we’re here,” Becker said. “Today is the day.” 

Among survey respondents, 79 percent said they perform some family caregiving role. That’s according to Lynn Gall, program manager for DHS Family Caregiver Support. 

About 68 percent of respondents said they’ve had to change their work schedule because of their caregiving duties; 77 percent have missed work due to caregiving; 22 percent have used time off without pay; and 27 percent said they haven’t been able to take a vacation in over a year, according to figures featured in the interview. 

Gall added about 23 percent of respondents indicated they’ve considered leaving their jobs entirely. 

“So if they’re not getting the support they need, something’s going to happen,” she said. “They’re going to reduce their hours, they’re going to leave their job, they might move to another job that’s more accommodating.”  

The survey also found COVID-19 has further worsened the issue, with over half of respondents saying their caregiving responsibilities have grown during the pandemic. And 40 percent said the pandemic has made it more difficult to balance caregiving and their work. 

See the full interview here: https://wiseye.org/2022/06/20/newsmakers-wisconsins-workforce-shortage-and-support-for-working-caregivers/ 

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— AG Josh Kaul has announced Wisconsin will see $1.4 million from a nationwide lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company accused of making false claims to the Wisconsin Medicaid program.

Pharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt allegedly paid artificially low drug rebates to Medicaid for increasing the price of its drug Acthar between 2013 and 2020. All 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico argue the company acted as if the drug were new in 2013, ignoring all previous drug price data since Acthar was introduced in 1952. Mallinckrodt allegedly violated the Federal False Claims Act, the Wisconsin False Claims Act and the Wisconsin Medical Assistance Act, among other violations. 

Acthar is used as a diagnostic medication to test adrenal glands’ stress response.  

Kaul in a press release thanked the Department of Justice’s Medicaid Fraud Control and Elder Abuse Unit for working to hold the company accountable.

“When companies break the rules of the Medicaid system, the Wisconsin Department of Justice works to hold them accountable and get restitution for taxpayers,” he said.

See the release:


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<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

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