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April 10, 2020

Contents

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Happy Easter!

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Thank You

Thank you to all poll workers and members of the Wisconsin National Guard for their work at the polls on election day. I volunteered at a polling place in Cobb and was encouraged by the hard work of our municipal clerks and volunteers. While we continue to deal with these difficult and uncertain times, your service was instrumental in ensuring the safety of the election.

As of 7:30AM on Friday, April 10, 1,080,403 absentee ballots have been reported returned. Click here to view daily reports on absentee ballot totals.

Election results will be released on Monday, April 13th.


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Many Area State Parks Now Closed

On Thursday, Governor Evers directed the Department of Natural Resources to close various state parks. From his press release "Due to unprecedented crowds, litter, vandalism, and out of an abundance of caution to protect public health and safety and help flatten the curve, the following parks will close at the end of the day Thursday, April 9 and will remain closed until further notice." Governor Dodge is among the parks to close. Click here to view the full release which includes a list of the parks that have closed.

 

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Coronavirus Update

Testing:

As of April 9, The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has received 31,424 negative test results and 2,885 positive test results for COVID-19. Of those who tested positive for the virus, 843 (29%) were hospitalized. The most up-to-date testing information can be found here.

Rumor Control and Scams:

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency has created the Coronavirus Rumor Control page to help distinguish between rumors and facts.
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released an alert regarding cybercriminals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read the alert which includes indicators for detection.

Legislature:

  • The State Assembly is working on a coronavirus legislative package that would, among other things, eliminate the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits, eliminate late-payment fees on unpaid property taxes, and suspend monthly premiums for childless adults on Medicaid.

 

State Updates:

  • On March 27, Governor Evers issued Executive Order #15 suspending evictions and foreclosures amid the public health emergency. The Legislative Reference Bureau prepared a document explaining this order.
  • Governor Evers clarifies that drive-up religious services are allowed under the "Safer at Home" order.
  • Governor Evers announced the construction of an alternative care facility at Wisconsin State Fair Park.
  • The Wisconsin Hospitals Association in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has created a COVID-19 dashboard to monitor data related to the ongoing pandemic. Click here to view.

Federal Updates:

  • President Trump has issued a memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security to use the Defense Production Act to keep scarce medical resources within the United States for domestic use.
  • The CDC is now recommending wearing a cloth face covering when in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Education:

  • The U.S. Department of Education announced a streamlined process for providing states funding flexibility allowing schools to repurpose existing K-12 education funds for technology infrastructure and teacher training on distance learning.
  • The U.S. Department of Education announced more than $6 billion will be distributed immediately to colleges and universities to provide emergency cash grants to college students whose lives and educations have been disrupted by Coronavirus.
  • There are options for children who participate in the Child Nutrition Program and may be facing food insecurity during this time. While schools are not required to provide meals during a dismissal, they are encouraged to ensure that needs are met. Check with your local school district for information regarding meals during the school closure.

Small Business Owners:

  • The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is conducting a state-wide survey to better understand and measure the hardships and and impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the state's business community.
  • Beginning today, April 10, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for and receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders. Click here for a fact sheet on PPP loans.

Unemployment:

  • The Department of Workforce Development reports that initial applications for unemployment insurance as of Thursday for the week of April 5, 2020 have reached 53,713. Comparable claims last year at this time in the week were 3,762. This data can be found here.

  • For the week ending March 28, the federal seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 5.1%, an increase of 3% from the previous week's rate. You can view the Department of Labor's press release here.
  • Due to the unprecedented number of unemployment applications, DWD has asked that those needing to file for unemployment do so through the department’s website.

  • Those seeking unemployment are encouraged to register on JobCenterofWisconsin.com. This website continues to be updated with new job postings.

    Agriculture:
  • The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection has provided guidance for Dairy Farmers on Emergency Milk Disposal advising farmers to create and maintain a record of every milk disposal. These records may be important in the event that state or federal programs become available to help farmers with lost revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection's Wisconsin Farm Center is offering services to farmers feeling the effects of COVID-19. These services include financial and business consultation, legal services, and more. These services are provided at no cost.

Child Care:

  • The Department of Children and Families has launched a new web form that allows essential employees to request assistance with child care services.

Useful Links:

 

 

 

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.

 

  • Sign Up to Work at Your Local Polling Place - Many poll workers across Wisconsin are unable to serve due to age or health concerns from the Coronavirus pandemic. Many positions require very little or no training. You can find information here on how to sign up to work at your local polling location.

Stay Well and Be Safe!