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Contents


Dear Neighbor,

This newsletter is being sent in accordance with a law change to allow limited mass communication after April 15th of an election year 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, 
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Sen. Patty Schachtner

Coronavirus Update

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In our area, we have multiple confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pierce, St. Croix, Dunn, and 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.

 

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You can see more data on the Department of Health Services website.

 


 
 

Turning the Dial

Beginning tomorrow at 8am, Wisconsin started to turn the dial back on Safer at Home guidelines to slowly and safely return our state back to normal. Non-essential businesses are now able to do the Minimum Basic Operations to maintain the value of your business’s inventory, preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions, including where these functions are outsourced to other entities. Minimum Basic Operations may include:

  1. Taking steps to facilitate employees working remotely;
  2. Fulfilling deliveries or mailing parcels so long as all the operations are performed by one person in a confined space, including a car or truck, and no signature is required;
  3. Providing curb-side pick-up of goods and curb-side drop-off of goods and animals so long as the operations are performed by one staff person in a confined space, including a car or truck, no signature is required, pick-ups and drop-offs are scheduled to maintain social distancing between customers, and payment happens on-line or by phone.
  4. Outdoor recreational rentals of boats, kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, golf carts, snowmobiles, ATVs, and other similar outdoor equipment, so long as the operation is performed by one staff person in a confined space, pick-up and drop-off are scheduled to maintain social distancing, payment happens on-line or by phone, and equipment is cleaned between each use.
  5. Automatic or self-service car washes can operate so long as high-touch areas are cleaned frequently.

Minimum Basic Operations does not include serving customers in person (other than the deliveries, curb-side pick-up, curb-side drop-off, and recreational rentals). Services or activities requiring more than one person may only continue via phone or virtually.

For more information on essential and non-essential businesses, please check the information page on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) website!

 
 

Supporting Veterans

Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), there are additional resources available to support veterans during this public health emergency.

  • VA Patients: VA appointments are being held through telehealth visits to keep patients and staff safer, but in rural areas that might be difficult. Veterans can talk to their provider and local VA about getting an iPad or other tablet from VA. CARES allows the VA to enter into partnerships with local telecommunications companies to subsidize or completely pay for broadband internet services.
  • Entrepreneurs: Veteran-owned small businesses can receive support through the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program to cover 8 weeks of your payroll, rent, mortgage interest, and utility costs. The loan is 100% forgiveable for those that fully maintain their workers.
  • Homeowners: All federally backed mortgages- including those guaranteed or insured by the VA- are protected from foreclosure for 60 days which began on March 18th.
  • Direct Care enrollees: Veterans are now able to enroll or renew participation in the Veteran Directed Care program over the phone or through telehealth- no home visit required. Veterans and caregivers that aren’t able to get paperwork completed right now won’t be penalized, dis-enrolled, or suspended from the program.

Managing Stress

Even during the best of times, we all experience stress and feelings of anxiety. During this outbreak, that fear, anxiety, and depression may be overwhelming for both adults and kids. Here are some healthy ways to cope with that stress:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

 If you or someone you know is struggling, there are resources to help.

In case of an emergency, always call 911. Visit the Disaster Distress Helpline website, call 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746. Calling 211 could also help connect you with financial, food, housing, or other resources.

  

Resources for Rural Communities

To support communities like ours, the USDA is working to provide resources for farmers and their local economies. 

  • Through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program they will be providing direct support for losses to agriculture producers where prices and supply chains have been impacted. They will also be working with producers to make adjustments to account for lost demand and short-term oversupply.
  • USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is ensuring that milk producers who purchased insurance are not inappropriately penalized if their milk must be dumped because of recent market disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
  • The RMA is also authorizing additional flexibilities for crop insurance. Through Approved Insurance Providers, the changes include: enabling producers to send notifications and reports electronically, extending the date for production reports and providing additional time and deferring interest on premium and other payments.