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COVID-19 Update #4

 

Dear Friends & Neighbors,

These are unprecedented times. Despite the devastating challenges we are facing due to COVID-19, local, state, and federal leaders continue to take actions working to slow the spread of this virus. 

WHY THE STATE HAS ACTED: For most people, the threat is not the virus itself. The threat is that too many vulnerable people (seniors, those with weakened immune systems) will become infected at the same time and overwhelm our hospitals and the ability to treat everyone. The lives lost in other countries hit earlier than the United States were a result of not having the capacity to treat everyone in need of urgent care. That is why the state has taken aggressive but necessary actions regarding social distancing (conscious decision to stay away from other people) to give our hospitals and healthcare professionals the best chance to save lives. We are all in this together. Thank you to everyone in our Oshkosh community who is making sacrifices to ensure the health and safety of others. 

Although there is currently no evidence of community spread (people infected that had not traveled outside of the area) in Winnebago County, there is in other areas of our state. Following the public health guidelines for social distancing and Governor Evers' order for restriction of mass gatherings remains critically important. These efforts will help delay community transmission in our area.

If you are experiencing mild symptoms, please call your doctor before seeking medical care. Most people infected can recover at home. Avoiding directly heading to urgent care is also crucial to alleviating the stress on our medical system and allows the staff to prepare for your visit. 

In addition, everyone who needs a COVID-19 test will have access to a test, but not everyone who wants a test will be tested. This is due to a national shortage of COVID-19 tests. Testing is limited to the highest priority patients and healthcare workers. Information for healthcare providers on testing guidance and an updated, required triage form are available on the DHS COVID-19 website

I encourage you to continue taking advantage of these important resources: 

For my constituents abroad, you can sign-up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive important updates from the local embassy. This is a free service for all U.S. citizens/nationals traveling or living abroad. Sign-up HERE.

 

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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Support Local Businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to local businesses. I encourage those who can support our local businesses and restaurants to do so at this time. Here are some ways you can help out small businesses in our community: 

  • Purchase gift cards to local restaurants to use at a later date. 
  • Order delivery or takeout where possible. 
  • Visit the websites of your favorite local businesses, many are offering discounts or telling their customers how they can assist. Other businesses are offering services remotely or shipping merchandise to their customers. 
  • If you're online shopping, seek out local businesses to make these purchases.

Every dollar means a lot right now, so please do whatever you can to help support our local Oshkosh community. 

Visit Oshkosh has the latest up-to-date information on area businesses and restaurants with their hours and take out options. 

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Unemployment Insurance Update 

Unemployment benefits are crucial for Wisconsinites who have unexpectedly become unemployed during the COVID-19 outbreak. Governor Evers waived the requirement that individuals receiving unemployment benefits need to be actively searching for work. Waiving this requirement will allow families to access these funds quicker and enable them to afford basic living costs during this pandemic. You can read the order HERE.

Governor Evers is also working with the Wisconsin State Legislature to suspend the one-week waiting period for benefits so that much-needed unemployment insurance funds make it to affected workers faster.  

 

Unemployment Resources

If you or someone you know has had their workplace shut down due to COVID-19, you will be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). 

If you are unsure if you qualify for unemployment benefits, you are encouraged to file a claim with the Department of Workforce Development. Once you file, they will assist you in determining your eligibility. Each case will be examined on a case-by-case basis. 

You can find out additional information, contact DWD, or apply for unemployment benefits HERE. If you have any questions, please contact my office at 608-266-2254. 

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Federal Income Tax Filing Deadline Moved to July 15

The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced that the income tax filing deadline has been moved from April 15 to July 15. The three additional months will ensure Americans have enough time to file and make payments without interest or penalties. You can read more about this decision HERE

 

Manage Your COVID-19 Symptoms at Home

If you have a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19, there are several steps you can take at home to protect yourself and others. As a reminder, the symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. 

Stay Home

  • If you have mild symptoms, you can recover at home.
  • Call before your doctor before seeking medical care. This will alleviate the stress on the medical system and allow the staff to prepare for your visit. 

Separate Yourself 

  • Designate a "sick room" in your home away from others, and use a separate bathroom if possible. 
  • Limit your contact with pets. 

Avoid Sharing Household Items

  • Do not share dishes, cups, utensils, towels, or bedding with others in your home. 
  • Wash household items thoroughly after using them. 

Clean "High-Touch" Surfaces Daily 

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your "sick room" and bathroom every day, including phones, remotes, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, and keyboards. 
  • Have a caregiver clean and disinfect other high-touch surfaces in your home. 

Wear a Facemask 

  • Wear a facemask when you are around other people and before entering a healthcare provider's office. 

Cover your Coughs & Sneezes 

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. 
  • Immediately wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. 

Wash your Hands Often 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 

This information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can read more about their guidance on managing your care at home HERE.

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ThedaCare & Partnership Community Health Center Update

Effective immediately, ThedaCare is postponing all non-time sensitive, non-urgent procedures at all seven hospitals for at least six weeks. This includes elective surgeries, cardiac catheterizations, and interventional radiology procedures. You can learn more about the steps ThedaCare is taking HERE.

Partnership Community Health Center is temporarily suspending preventative and restorative dental care at all locations. They will remain open to treat patients with urgent dental needs. In addition, Partnership is temporarily suspending primary care at their Oshkosh location. They are sending providers to the Appleton location to assist with procedures necessitated by the outbreak.

  

UW Oshkosh Update

Yesterday, UW Oshkosh announced additional steps they are taking to reduce operations. On Monday, all employees will begin telecommuting, except for those who are needed to deliver essential campus services. In addition, all courses will be conducted online for the remainder of the semester. There will also be no in-person commencement ceremony this spring. To learn more about these developments and other actions UWO is taking to curb the spread of COVID-19, visit their website HERE

 

Oshkosh COVID-19 Relief Fund for 501(c)(3) Organizations

The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation and Oshkosh Area United Way have launched a relief fund to provide financial assistance to local 501(c)(3) organizations impacted by COVID-19 and its economic consequences. All of the funds will go directly to helping those affected throughout our community. You can donate to this important fund or apply for funding HERE

 

Small Business Administration Disaster Loans

A disaster declaration for economic injury related to the COVID-19 pandemic has been submitted to the Small Business Administration (SBA) by Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Governor's office. The declaration is expected to be received and take effect in the coming days. When it is made official, a portal will open on the SBA's website that will allow business owners to apply for working capital loans. 

General information on disaster assistance is available HERE. If you have any questions, you can reach out to our local Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Development Director Jon Bartz at jon.bartz@wedc.org or 608-210-6846.

  

Election Information 

Wisconsin's Spring Election and Presidential Primary is still scheduled to be held on Tuesday, April 7. There have been a number of questions raised in Wisconsin and states around the country about how the COVID-19 virus could disrupt the voting process. In order to best avoid any election day voting issues or delays, you are encouraged to have an absentee ballot mailed to your home.

You can request an absentee ballot HERE by Thursday, April 2 if you are already registered to vote. If you're not already registered to vote, you can register in-person at City Hall (215 Church Avenue) through Friday, April 3. 

 

 

You might also find this article from Wisconsin Public Radio on how to vote by mail helpful. 

 
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Oshkosh Kids Foundation - Feed a Child

If you would like to help the Oshkosh Area School District fund their program to ensure that all kids and low-income parents have access to two meals a day while school is closed, the Oshkosh Kids Foundation will be collecting money to support this important effort. Consider donating to help our students HERE.

Oshkosh Area School District - Meals for Students and Families

A reminder that the Oshkosh Area School District will provide free meals for students and their families while schools are closed.

The meals can be picked up weekdays at grab-and-go locations set up outside of the school. They will include milk, a sack lunch and breakfast for the next day. No identification or proof of enrollment is required.

Pickup locations and times:

  • Perry Tipler Middle School (325 S. Eagle St.): 11-11:40 a.m.
  • Jefferson Elementary School (244 W. 11th Ave.): Noon-12:40 p.m.
  • Oaklawn Elementary School (112 Viola Ave.): 10:45-11:15 a.m.
  • Merrill Elementary School (108 W. New York Ave.): 11:30 a.m.-noon
  • Webster Stanley Middle School (915 Hazel St.): 12:15-12:45 p.m.
  • Oshkosh North High School (1100 W. Smith Ave.): 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The following other locations will be open to pick up free meals for children only in the neighborhood:

  • Logan Drive Neighborhood: (3317 Logan Drive): 10:45-11:15 a.m.
  • Snell Road Mobile Home Community: (1940 W. Snell Road): 11:20-11:50 a.m.
  • St. Andrews Church Neighborhood: (110 E. Murdock Ave.): 10:50-11:20 a.m.
  • Cimarron Court Neighborhood: (130 Cimarron Court): 11:35-11:55 a.m.
  • Cumberland Trail Neighborhood: (1152 Cumberland Trail), community center, will be distributed by HUD staff after 12 p.m.

You can find updated information from the school district, HERE.

 

Child Care Centers Update

Governor Tony Evers has directed the Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Andrea Palm to restrict the size of all child care settings. Centers may not operate with more than 10 staff present at a time and may not operate with more than 50 children present at a time. This guidance can be found HERE.

The restriction in size will remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency declared by Executive Order #72

If you are a child care center that is remaining open and are unable to find supplies, you can fill out the supplies request form HERE 

 

Oshkosh Area Community Pantry Remains Open

The Oshkosh Area Community Pantry (2551 Jackson St.) announced Monday that they will remain open to those in need.

Pantry staff and volunteers are enacting social distancing techniques, including reducing the number of and rearranging public seats, heightening sanitation measures and allowing only people who are symptom-free.

You can help by donating food, time, or money. You can donate funds HERE

 

Oshkosh Closures

Below is a list of several closures in Oshkosh, please note that this is not an exhaustive list. 

The Oshkosh Public Library is closed through April 6

The Oshkosh Seniors Center is closed through April 11

The Oshkosh Public Museum is closed through April 11

City Hall is closed except for early voting and/or voter registration until further notice 

All other City Buildings are closed to the public until further notice 

The Oshkosh Fire Station is closed for walk-ins until further notice 

The Oshkosh Police Department is strongly discouraging walk-ins until further notice 

Go Transit remains operational, however, the warming shelter at the transfer station is closed until further notice 

For the most current list of Oshkosh cancellations and closures, visit the City of Oshkosh website HERE

 

Access to Broadband Internet

Spectrum will offer free broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. To enroll call 844-488-8395. 

AT&T home internet customers will be allowed to use unlimited data. In addition, AT&T will not terminate the service of any broadband residential or small business customer, will waive late fees, and will keep public hotspots open. 

 

Utility Cutoff to be Frozen

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) directed water, electric, and natural gas utilities to cease disconnecting residential service for nonpayment until the state public health emergency has been lifted. Additionally, utilities must make reasonable attempts to reconnect service to homes that have been disconnected. You can learn more HERE.

 

Cybersecurity Reminders

Be cautious about who may be trying to take advantage of you during this public health emergency. 

  • Beware of phishing email, phone calls, and texts that request personal information from you. 
  • Be wary of claims of cures. Instead, always verify with the Department of Health Services or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  • Report possible scams to the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection at DATCPHotline@wisconsin.gov or (800) 422-7128.
 
 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|