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March 19, 2020


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Coronavirus Update

Testing:

As of March 19, The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has received 2192 negative test results and 155 positive test results for COVID-19. The most up-to-date testing information can be found here.

State Updates:

  • Governor Evers has ordered a statewide moratorium on mass gatherings of 10 people or more.
  • The Governor has ordered that child care settings may not operate with more than 10 staff and with more than 50 children present at a time.
  • Public Service Commission - several internet service providers have offered free or low-cost internet options and will be waiving late fees or cancellations of service. Click here to see a list of providers offering this assistance.
  • Department of Motor Vehicles - All DMV Customer Service Centers will be closed to the public on Friday, March 20. Wisconsin DMVs will reopen on Monday, March 23 for restricted in-person customer service. Issuance of new driver licenses and identification cards will be available by appointment only. Licenses that expire during the public health emergency will be automatically extended 60 days. View the press release here.

Federal Updates:

  • On Wednesday, President Trump signed into law a coronavirus relief package that includes provisions for free testing for COVID-19, paid sick leave, family leave for caregivers, and food assistance.
  • The State Department has advised all U.S. citizens to forgo any form of upcoming foreign travel.
  • Today, President Trump took steps to order companies to produce critically-needed equipment such as ventilators, respirators, and protective gear for health care workers.

Unemployment:

  • The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has provided answers to common questions regarding unemployment insurance. Click here to visit the page.
  • If you plan to file for unemployment benefits, DWD has asked that applications be completed online due to the high volume of applications being received.
  • The Governor has made a variety of changes to provide additional flexibility to Wisconsin's unemployment insurance program. These changes include a waiver of the required four work search actions for those filing a claim. This change is retroactively effective to March 12, 2020.
  • The New York Times has created a page to assist those who have been laid off or had their income reduced. The site provides help for renters and homeowners and information on the tax payment deadline extension. Click here to visit the site.

Small Business Owners:

  • The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has announced a $5 million grant program to assist small business owners in dealing with losses resulting from COVID-19.
  • WEDC is also working with the Small Business Administration to unlock federal loans for businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Voting:

  • The Wisconsin Elections Commission strongly recommends that those planning to vote in the April 7 Spring Election request to vote absentee. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is April 2 - please do not wait! Click here to request your absentee ballot.

Education:

  • Governor Evers has directed DHS to mandate a statewide closure of all K-12 schools beginning March 18th. This closure will remain in effect throughout the duration of the public health emergency.
  • The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) announced on Monday that they will waive the state mandated hour requirement for districts requesting to do so.
  • Many school districts will continue to offer meals to school aged students during the school closure period. Visit your school district webpage for details on how to access this service.

Best Practices:

The Centers for Disease Control have posted the following tips to protect yourself:

  • Wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily

More information on coronavirus from the CDC can be found here

 
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How You Can Help

  • Support Local Business - Do your part to make sure your favorite spots are around when we get through this. Many restaurants are offering generous discounts and providing pick up and delivery service. Call your favorite spot to see what they are offering and tip a little more than usual as restaurants are serving fewer people. If you prefer to dine in, consider purchasing a gift card for later use. The Wisconsin Restaurant Association is compiling a list of restaurants remaining open for pick up and delivery. If you are a restaurant owner or you know of a restaurant offering these services, feel free to add their information.

 

  • Give Blood - The American Red Cross reports that they are facing a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during the coronavirus outbreak. Click here to learn more about how you can donate and locate a blood drive taking place in our area.

 

  • Give to Food Banks and Delivery Services - Organizations like Feeding America and Meals on Wheels are in need of donations and volunteers to provide food to those in need during this difficult time. Charity Navigator has also compiled a list of trustworthy charities in need of resources. Click here for a list of soup kitchens and food pantries in our area.

 

  • Volunteer - Volunteers are needed to staff shelters and provide food delivery services throughout the state. United Way Wisconsin has provided a dashboard to connect volunteers with organizations looking for help. Click here to view.