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Contents

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Welcome to my Weekly Pandemic Update. Throughout the week, my office does its best to collect and disperse information that may be of aid or interest to you from both state and federal entities. 

Supreme Court Decision
On Wednesday evening, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on the lawsuit filed by Legislature that the Safer At Home extension issued by Department of Health Services Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm was "unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable." The decision essentially ended all the Safer At Home restrictions, opening the State. 

 

The entire opinion of the Court can be found, here

 

This ruling allows people to once again gather with their loved ones or visit their places of worship without the fear of violating a state order. I believe business owners can safely reopen using the guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

 

While the decision opens the State, this does not mean that COVID-19 has gone away – it hasn’t. COVID-19 is still here, which means everyone still needs to practice good hygiene and social distancing. This decision does not promote people to act in a way that they believe endangers their health. If you are uncomfortable going to a store or a restaurant – don’t go. If you are uncomfortable going to church – don’t go. 

 

Remember that the point of remaining at home at the beginning of the pandemic was because we were concerned about the ability of our healthcare system to manage an influx of patients with the virus. For the past couple of months, no hospital in Wisconsin has been overrun with cases.

 

Department of Workforce Development Updates

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has received unprecedented levels of unemployment claims for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefit.

My office has been doing everything in our power to assist anyone who contacts me about issues with UI. I am not receiving regular updates nor do I know where in the queue my constituents stand once I send a request over to the Department - I feel your frustration. 

My office has been receiving updates that more and more people are either being trained or hired to assist with the amount of backlog, but my office is not seeing any improvement in how my constituents are being treated. 

I have been informed that in the case of an UI inquiries, the UI staff look at the claim for every inquiry that comes in.

For references, there are the time tables my office has been told are or the various scenarios:

  1. In some cases, UI is able to fix minor mistakes and to clear up simple discrepancies in a claimant's application within 3 to 10 business days.
  2. In other cases, based on the claimant's application answers, or as required by federal law, UI may need to gather more information. UI will communicate with former employers and/or the claimant. This may result in the claimant needing to send information to the Department to complete their application. The time it takes to resolve these types of situations varies widely, but, on average, take 21 days.
  3. Still other cases are in adjudication, which means there is a disagreement between the parties: the claimant and former employers, or the claimant and the Department, and the facts need to be investigated and a determination made by an adjudicator. The time frame for resolving these situations is, on average, 35 days.

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My office is still here to help, and most of what my staff has been doing is assisting constituents with UI claim issues. If you or someone you know, needs assistance, please reach out - the sooner the better. The more information my office can receive from an individual with an UI issue, the better. Things that are the most helpful are: 
1.)           Full Name (the provided on the UI applications)

2.)           Best phone number to be reached at

3.)           Address

4.)           Date(s) of Application(s). If the applicant applied once, please provide that date. If the applicant applied multiple times, please provide EVERY date applied.

5.)           Status showing for each application – if unsure, the claimant check the status at this website: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/information/

Updated Unemployment Numbers

TOTAL NUMBER:

March 15 Through

May 9, 2020

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT EACH PROGRAM, VISIT:

Unemployment Applications Received*

518,003

 

https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/apply/

 

Weekly Claims Received*

1,813,938

https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/weeklyclaim/

 

Weekly Claims Paid

1,213,456

 

Total Benefits Paid

$941,042,374 (including FPUC)

$353,485,099 (excluding FPUC)

 

 

FPUC Benefits Paid

$587,557,275

https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/fpuc/

 

PUA Applications Received

 

72,695

 

https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/pua/

UI Calls Received-Week of May 3, 2020

5,356,962

 

*Preliminary counts updated daily at: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/covid19/public/ui-stats.htm

 

Antibody Testing

Earlier this week, it was announced by the three major medical networks in South Central Wisconsin that antibody testing for COVID-19 is now available.

Patients who are members of UW Group Health Cooperative, SSM Health, or UnityPoint Health-Meritor can log onto MyChart to request an antibody test through their physician. 

You can watch a news story about the testing here

Health Data

Earlier this week, my colleague, Rep. Joe SanFelippo, put together a set of data about COVID-19 based on the information that Department of Health Services has available from its various data websites. Rep. SanFelippo is the Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Health. I found it to be useful for me, and I thought you may find the information also useful.

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Purchase Your Pass Online

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The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced Wednesday that it will now offers annual state park passes for sale online for the first time in agency history. This service is part of the DNR's overall effort to accommodate the high demand for state park stickers and encourage Wisconsinites to visit the state's beautiful array of public land.

YourPassNow is a digital marketplace that allows Wisconsin state park visitors to conveniently purchase their annual state park passes online. Click on the above graphic to access the online store. 

Stickers available for purchase online include:

  • Annual Wisconsin Resident: $28
  • Wisconsin Resident Senior (65+): $13
  • Non-Resident: $38

 

Annual state trail passes and reduced-rate annual stickers are NOT currently available for purchase online but can still be purchased over the phone via credit card, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. by calling toll free: 1-888-305-0398. As a reminder, passes of any kind are not available for purchase at state parks or any other DNR properties and should be purchased in advance of visiting state parks. Annual stickers are valid through December 31, 2020.

Park stickers should arrive by mail within 30 days of purchasing. A printed copy of the receipt serves as valid proof of purchase until the sticker comes and should be displayed on the driver's side dashboard when visiting a state park.

Receipts will be emailed the same day of purchase. If you did not receive a receipt the same day of your purchase, email: WIParks.Store@wisconsin.gov.

For more information on purchasing a state park admission sticker, please visit the State Park Admissions webpage. A map of open properties can be downloaded and printed here.