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COVID-19 Update #10

 

Dear Friends & Neighbors,


Late last week, Governor Tony Evers and Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Andrea Palm announced the difficult decision to extend the existing Safer at Home order until May 26. They justified their extended order to allow for increased testing capacity, reduce the risk of a second wave of the virus, and avoid overwhelming our hospital systems. You can read the full order HERE.


Yesterday, the Governor announced his plan for reopening Wisconsin in three phases based on specific criteria. This plan does not replace the Safer at Home extension, instead, it provides a blueprint for the standards our state needs to meet in order to safely reopen. The criteria include expanded contact tracing in order to monitor contacts of infected people and notify them of their exposure; access to more testing and labs; access to more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and supplies; increased hospital capacity; and a reduction in the number of cases. As our state begins to hit these benchmarks, the Safer at Home order will be dialed back. You can read the full plan HERE, or a brief fact sheet HERE.


I will do my best to make sure Wisconsin is doing everything possible to meet the criteria for safely reopening as soon as we can. These phases and the metrics for reopening are modeled, in part, after guidelines announced by President Trump last week, which show Wisconsin is not yet ready to move beyond Safer at Home. You can read President Trump's guidance to states HERE.


The news of the extended Safer at Home order was difficult for many small business owners and employees, devastated by the closure of their business and who are anxious to get back to work. This remains an extremely difficult time for individuals, families, and small businesses. This pandemic has completely altered our way of life and it will take our economy years to recover. As difficult as it is, we must understand that our economic recovery is tied directly to our ability to manage and contain the virus. We have evidence of the experiences of other countries that were impacted earlier and the best practices applied to protect public health and restore the economy. 

Wisconsin's ability to maintain a manageable level of cases and prevent rapid spread of the virus is a sign that the actions our state is taking are working. We are seeing progress. The sacrifices we continue to make to stay home and practice physical distancing will help us defeat this virus faster. I understand that this is a big request but we are all in this together. 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, you can reach out to my Madison office at 608-266-2254, my home at 920-232-0805, or my email at Rep.Hintz@legis.wisconsin.gov. 

Sincerely, 

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Details on Stay at Home Order Extension

Under the extended Safer at Home order, most of the provisions will remain the same. However, there are a few key changes. 

Loosened restrictions: 

  • Public libraries can provide curbside pick-up for books and other materials. 
  • Golf courses can open, with restrictions on golf carts, scheduling, and payments. 
  • Non-essential businesses can do deliveries, mailings, and curbside pick-up.
  • Optional lawn care or construction is allowed if it can be done by one person.
  • Arts and craft stores can offer curbside pick-up of materials to make face masks or other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 

Enhanced restrictions on essential businesses: 

  • All businesses have to increase cleaning and disinfection practices, ensure only necessary workers are present, and adopt policies for employees exposed to COVID-19. 
  • Retail stores have to limit the number of people in the store at one time and provide proper spacing for people. 
  • Large stores have to offer at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations. 

The changes in this order will go into effect on Friday, April 24. You can read the full order HERE, and the Frequently Asked Questions document HERE

 

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Mental Health Resources 

The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful for many people. If you or someone you love is experiencing fear and anxiety about this virus, that is normal. The uncertainty of this time can be overwhelming - you are not alone in feeling anxious. There are several resources available to help manage stress during this difficult time. You can visit the Resilient Wisconsin webpage for more information HERE

 

COVID-19 Shopping Tips 

When you head to the store next, keep in mind that there are several steps you can take to limit your exposure to COVID-19. The Department of Health Services (DHS) recommends that you: 

  • Watch what you touch 
    • Disinfect cart and basket handles 
    • Wash food containers, produce, etc. when you get home
  • Practice personal hygiene 
    • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds 
    • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze 
    • Wear a face covering 
  • Keep 6 feet away from other people 

Remember, when you do these things you are being considerate of others and playing your role in slowing down the spread of this virus. You can read more about DHS's shopping tips HERE

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UW Oshkosh Financial Challenges 

UW Oshkosh announced yesterday that some employees will be furloughed. The University is experiencing harsh financial challenges that ultimately forced their hand to make this decision. In short, they have an immediate $4 million gap this fiscal year - which has threatened their ability to cover costs like payroll. You can read more about UWO's financial situation and the furloughs HERE

 

Unemployment Benefit Updates

Today, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) opened the application portal for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This unemployment insurance is for employees not covered under the regular insurance, such as those who are self-employed or gig workers. You can apply for this assistance HERE


On Sunday, April 26, DWD will begin adding the $600 per week benefit to weekly claims. Claimants do not need to take action to receive this benefit. You can read more about the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation HERE


The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which adds 13 weeks on to regular unemployment insurance, will be implemented soon. You check for updates HERE

 

Having Trouble Receiving Unemployment Benefits? 

If it has been at least three weeks since you submitted your application and you have not received your benefits, my office may be able to help you. 

*Please note: If your claim is "pending", that means there are eligibility issues that require further information or investigation. You do not need to take further action at this time unless DWD tells you otherwise. Typically, each investigation will take no longer than 28 days. For cases that are "pending", my office is unable to assist.

If you are experiencing a different issue with your application, please email Rep.Hintz@legis.wisconsin.gov with the following information: 

  • Full name 
  • Phone number
  • Issue that needs to be resolved 
  • Status of your application
    • Did you apply online?
    • What date did you submit it?

My staff will send this information to DWD and request that they promptly look into your case. I understand that this is a difficult financial time for many, and I am committed to helping you receive your benefits in a timely manner.

 

Winnebago County Data 

As of Monday, 38 people in Winnebago County have tested positive for COVID-19 and one person has passed away. For the most up-to-date information on confirmed cases in our community, visit the Winnebago County Health Department's COVID-19 webpage HERE

 

COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update Tool

The COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update Tool was developed by the Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center (WHAIC) in collaboration with the Department of Health Services (DHS). The tool includes information on cases per 1,000 people, total hospital admissions, number of hospitals with 7 days or less Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), positive COVID-19 cases identified, deaths, bed count, and ventilator availability. You can access this information HERE

 

Importance of Wearing Face Masks

The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing requirements are difficult to maintain, especially in areas where community-based transmission is high. You can find a guide on how to make your own face mask HERE.  

 

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Getting in Touch with the Governor's Office

Due to the high volume of phone calls the Governor's office has been receiving, they are unable to answer all calls and their voicemail system does not allow for more than 65 messages at once. They have staff dedicated solely to answering the phones and checking the voicemail, however, to ensure you are responded to in a timely manner I encourage you to fill out their online contact form with any questions or concerns HERE

 

Resource Links

 
 If you have any comments regarding the subject of this E-Newsletter, please feel free to contact me.   


Rep. Hintz
State Capitol, Room #201 W
PO Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

Toll-Free (888) 555-1234 or (608) 555-1234
Rep.Hintz@legis.wisconsin.gov|