Newsletter Banner.png

Contents


Dear Neighbor,

Due to legislation passed and signed into law last week, limited mass communication after April 15th of an election year is allowed for critical coronavirus updates! I am happy to be able to continue this special edition of our newsletter this week to provide you with some additional 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, 
SCHACHTNER-Signature.png

 

 

Sen. Patty Schachtner

Coronavirus Update

DHS Update.png (6) 

In our area, 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. Only 5 counties in the entire state are without a confirmed positive case.

In Wisconsin, COVID-19 has been fatal for 5% of people who have tested positive for the virus.

 Death Rate Graph.png (2)


 
 

Safer at Home & Bouncing Back

Last week, Governor Evers moved to extend our state’s Safer at Home initiative with the guidance and support of public health experts. These changes go into effect on April 24th and extend until 8am on May 26th:

  • Public libraries: Public libraries may now provide curb-side pick-up of books and other library materials. 
  • Golf Courses: Golf courses may open again, with restrictions including scheduling and paying for tee times online or by phone only. Clubhouses and pro shops must remain closed.
  • Non-essential Businesses: Non-essential businesses will now be able to do more things as Minimum Basic Operations, including deliveries, mailings, and curb-side pick-up. Non-essential businesses must notify workers of whether they are necessary for the Minimum Basic Operations.
  • Arts and Crafts Stores: Arts and craft stores may offer expanded curb-side pick-up of materials necessary to make face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE). 
  • Aesthetic or Optional Exterior Work: Aesthetic or optional exterior law care or construction is now allowed under the extended order, so long as it can be done by one person.

You can read more of the FAQs about this update here.

 

Today, the Governor also announced the Badger Bounce Back plan which outlines important criteria for Wisconsin to be able to reopen its economy in phases and includes steps to make sure workers and businesses are prepared to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. In coordination with this announcement, at the direction of the governor, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm issued Emergency Order #31 establishing the process and outlining the phases of the plan. The emergency order is available here.

 

Badger Bounce Back.png (2)

 

 
 

COVID Special Session

Last week, I voted for and the Governor signed legislation to take the first step toward addressing this pandemic in our state. Act 185 has allowed Wisconsin to capture our fair share of federal dollars under the CARES Act and further supports Wisconsinites experiencing unemployment and underemployment due to this virus- but there is so much more we need to do.

 

My colleagues and I signed a letter back on April 1st urging our legislative leadership to provide more support for small businesses, healthcare workers, farmers, and all those that are being impacted by this virus. I am hopeful that these critical programs and resources will be considered as our next steps-

  • Provide emergency support to food banks and meal delivery programs
  • Ensure coverage for diagnosis, treatment, prescriptions, and vaccines related to COVID-19
  • Support county and municipal governments with more emergency assistance
  • Provide hazard pay to child care providers and help cover child care costs for healthcare providers
  • Support EMS and law enforcement that may contract COVID-19 while working on the front lines
  • Expand programs to support small businesses and farmers
  • Fund further broadband expansion

Unemployment

Last week’s legislation made an important and needed change to Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. With the new law, any claimant who filed a new application in the week of March 15, 2020 or later will not have a delay in their benefits for the usual one week waiting period. If you started a new claim in the week of March 15, 2020 or later and already served the waiting week, you will receive back payment for that week. The Department of Workforce Development is currently programming the changes and plan to make those back payments by April 25th.

Federal legislation known as the CAREs Act has also fully gone into effect due to the Act signed by the Governor last week. This legislation extends benefits to people who typically don't qualify for regular UI benefits (e.g., self-employed, independent contractors). Read more about all the federal programs that are supporting unemployed Wisconsinites here:

  

Volunteering Opportunities

It has been incredible to see so many of our neighbors step up to support each other through this crisis and I am thankful to be a part of this community.

The COVID-19 Response Fund for the St. Croix Valley has now distributed nearly $340,000 to 49 nonprofit organizations working to meet basic needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis! Organizations receiving grants are utilizing the funds to assist residents with food, shelter, financial assistance and mental health needs. To date, 23 nonprofits serving Polk and Burnett Counties and 25 nonprofits serving St. Croix and Pierce Counties have received these critical funds. You can donate to this fund here!

 

You could also volunteer for some of these great organizations by visiting VolunteerWisconsin.galaxydigital.com and filtering the results to see what is needed in your county!

The American Red Cross is also still looking for blood donors so if you are feeling well and can safely donate, visit RedCrossBlood.org to make an appointment.