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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.

 

This might be one of the last newsletters I am able to send out. Under current law in Wisconsin, I cannot send out mass communications after April 15th of an election year. The Governor has proposed legislation to ensure that we are able to share this critical information with you beyond that date. Legislative leadership has announced similar legislation that we are expected to vote on this week. If that is successful, these critical coronavirus updates can continue.

For now, 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 our district, we have multiple confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pierce, St. Croix, Dunn, and now Polk Counties. Nearby counties like Barron, Chippewa, and Eau Claire, each have several cases as well.

You can find the most updated information on the outbreak from the Department of Health Services here. The Wisconsin Hospital Association has also put together a dashboard to track the capacity of healthcare facilities in each region of the state. You can see our area’s capacity for ICU patients, ventilators, and more here.


 
 

You’re Making the Difference

The slower growth of cases we have seen in rural Wisconsin is not an indication that the science was wrong; it’s actually confirmation that it was right. You are the ones making this slow growth possible and saving lives in the process.

Wisconsin’s model indicates that, without action, COVID-19 would have caused 22,000 infections by April 8 and between 440 and 1,500 deaths. These projections were based on data compiled by our Department of Health Services between March 3 and March 15, 2020. This data showed that without action, Wisconsin would have seen exponential growth in COVID-19 cases- doubling every 3.4 days. We had no choice but to take action.  

We have been able to change our trajectory because our Governor, his administration, and all of you stepped up. Those bleak projections have not become our reality because so many of you stayed home and kept your communities healthier. Now, we have to stay the course because while the number of new cases is smaller each day than it could have been, the cases are still increasing. Last week, Polk County had its first two cases confirmed while cases in Dunn, Pierce, and St. Croix County are also still increasing.

We can’t let up now. Our efforts are working and now we have to see this through.

 

COVID Special Session

Tomorrow, we are expected to be voting on a different package of COVID-19 relief than the one I shared with you last week. Senate and Assembly leadership rejected the Governor’s proposals that had been crafted with input from those folks working to combat this pandemic on the ground. We are voting on their proposal instead.

It doesn’t include any funding for food banks or emergency food delivery programs. It doesn’t make sure your health insurer covers telehealth services. It doesn’t provide emergency assistance to our local governments.  It doesn’t support child care for front line workers. It doesn’t expand programs to support small businesses and farmers. It doesn’t even expand broadband at a time when we need access to information more than ever.

The proposal we now have before us doesn’t do enough, but it’s a step in the right direction.

I am glad legislative leadership is finally taking action and holding a vote to advance some programs to support Wisconsinites during this unprecedented time. We can’t stop here and my colleagues and I will continue to push for the resources that our rural communities need.

Health Coverage

As many have lost their jobs amid this public health emergency, they have also lost their health insurance coverage. The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance is here to help. Whether you qualify for COBRA coverage or BadgerCare Plus, you can find all your coverage options and information on applying here.

You can find other answers for your COVID-19 related insurance questions here.

 

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Supporting Farmers

We can all do our part to support Wisconsin’s farmers. At this time, we need them more than ever. So buy an extra gallon of milk, add some extra cheese to your delivery pizza, and maybe grab an ice cream treat!

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The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection has also developed a resource for farmers and other ag businesses as COVID-19 impacts their organizations. They have compiled links to more resources and a recommended checklist of considerations for agricultural business owners and employees. You can read their full toolkit here.