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Contents

 

Dear Neighbor,

I am sharing a special edition of our newsletter this week to provide you with some information you may need to keep your families safe and healthy.

In addition to this newsletter, you may follow me on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates. You may also follow our Department of Health Services. 

 

I ask that you help share this newsletter with your friends and family. An informed community is a strong community, and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss our communities' concerns.

Sincerely, 
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Sen. Patty Schachtner

Coronavirus Update

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In Northwestern Wisconsin, our only confirmed case was discovered last week in Pierce County. We have not identified any further spread through that county or neighboring counties.

Wisconsin’s public health officials are working hard to monitor new cases, expand our state’s testing capacity, and develop the most up-to-date guidance for our local governments and healthcare providers. We all know that we need to be washing our hands and not touching our faces, but we also need to start practicing “social distancing”.

Yesterday, Governor Tony Evers and our Department of Health Services announced new limitations on large gatherings over 50 people. You can read that executive order here.

Even if you do not feel that your own health is at risk, our neighbors and loved ones with chronic illnesses or over the age of 60 could be at risk if they are exposed to anybody carrying the virus. If we do our part to help prevent the likelihood that we become carriers, we can help stop the spread.

You can find the most updated information on the outbreak by visiting www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/outbreaks/index.htm.


 
 

Public Schools and Childcare

Last week, Governor Tony Evers declared that all public schools in Wisconsin would close after Wednesday, March 18th. Currently schools are slated to reopen on April 6th but this situation is rapidly evolving and that guidance may change.

Yesterday, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) announced that it would be waiving the instructional hour requirement for school districts and would also be suspending spring standardized testing.

Information on virtual learning tools, school nutrition programs, and more from DPI can be found here.

While schools are closed, more parents may need to rely on their childcare facilities so some rules have been suspended to allow for more flexibility so these facilities can provide that needed care. For facilities that are unable to find enough of the supplies they need to continue to care for children, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) has a supplies request form available for these childcare centers. DCF also has additional information and guidance that is being updated each day here.

 

Early Voting

The Wisconsin Elections Commission is encouraging residents who are concerned about being exposed to the new coronavirus to request an absentee ballot for the spring election and the presidential primary Tuesday, April 7. 

If you need to register at a new address, you must register to vote by Wednesday which you can do online at myvote.wi.gov. Voters who miss the deadline can register at their local municipal clerk’s office until Friday, April 3 or at a polling place on Election Day.

Registered voters can request an absentee ballot until Thursday, April 2, but the commission is asking that residents request a ballot sooner rather than later because of possible mail delays. Voters can then mail their completed absentee ballot in to their municipal clerk’s office. If a voter misses the postmark deadline, they can bring a completed absentee ballot into their polling place on Election Day.

You can direct any questions regarding absentee voting to the Wisconsin Elections Commission by email or phone at 1-866-VOTE-WIS.

Consumer Protection

Wisconsin’s Attorney General Josh Kaul is warning people to be on the lookout for scams and price-gouging connected to the new coronavirus. The State Department of Justice has received reports regarding scam emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Their office also asks Wisconsinites to beware of any claims about a vaccine or cure and be careful about making donations. If you receive any suspicious phone calls or emails, you can submit a consumer complaint here.

Governor Tony Evers’ executive order declaring a state of emergency last week prohibits price-gouging as well. To report suspected price gouging, you are urged to contact DATCP’s Consumer Protection Hotline at DATCPHotline@wisconsin.gov or 800-422-7128 or file an online complaint. They ask that you provide the following information:

  • Date the product was offered for sale
  • Seller’s name
  • Seller’s location
  • Specific product being sold, including product name, product size, and price
  

Unemployment Support

Workplaces and local economies are slowing or shutting down completely to help our communities prevent the spread of coronavirus. While these are important and necessary public health measures, it will no doubt have an impact on our pocketbooks.

If your workplace shuts down due to this pandemic, you will be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits through the Department of Workforce Development. You can find more information here.

Additionally, Governor Evers and the Public Service Commission have halted all utility shut-offs during this public health emergency for those that may lose a paycheck and will be unable to pay their monthly bills.

The administration is working around the clock to address the ramifications of the coronavirus spread and will continue to adjust policies and programs to support every Wisconsinites through this difficult time.