Friends and Neighbors,

Let me begin this update on the state response to COVID-19 by noting my sincere appreciation for the resolve, solidarity, and patience shown by so many through this difficult time.  I recognize that we are in the midst of uncharted territory and economic insecurity is being experienced broadly across the board.  I would like to thank the entire Kenosha community for remaining resilient throughout this public health emergency.

This message is to provide the latest information on the announced extension and modification of the Safer at Home order, legislative action on state response legislation, and helpful resources and information available at the federal, state, and local levels.

I always welcome your feedback and opinions, so please feel free to contact me at (608) 266-0455 or


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COVID-19 in Wisconsin

Wisconsin COVID-19 Test Results

Test Results

Number of People as of ‎4‎/‎17/‎2020‎







  • Of the 3,875 positive cases, 208 are located in Kenosha County, and five individuals have died.
  • For the most up-to-date data on testing, please visit the Department of Health Services website HERE.

Safer at Home

This week the Evers Administration announced that Health Services Secretary Palm has issued a public health order that will extend the existing Safer at Home directive with modifications beginning on April 24 and lasting through to May 26.  

Some of the changes include formally closing K-12 schools for the remainder of the current school year, enhanced safety requirements for operating essential businesses, and expanded minimum allowable operations for certain entities that are not designated as essential.

The full order, which becomes effective on April 24, is HERE

Public health experts and leading health care providers agree that the most effective thing we can do as a state to keep Wisconsinites healthy and safe is to stay home.  Our economic recovery is directly tied to public health. The faster we can slow the spread of COVID-19, the sooner we can safely re-open the economy.

The evidence shows current actions are flattening the curve, but now is not the time to change course and reverse the hard-earned progress we have made.  Both major business leaders and public health officials agree that wide scale testing and robust contract tracing is the next step and key to opening up the economy, and staying open.


Legislative Update

Among the many unprecedented events to occur recently, this week the legislature met in a virtual session for the first time ever to approve legislation to assist with the state’s response to the coronavirus.  I was proud to join in a nearly unanimous bipartisan vote to support the proposal. 


The new law provides additional flexibilities for the state to address the needs presented by the coronavirus public health emergency and makes necessary changes to ensure the state can capture hundreds of millions of dollars in available federal funds, including an additional $150 million in healthcare funds for each quarter while the pandemic lasts.  From suspending the one week waiting period for unemployment benefits, to insurance coverage for COVID-19 testing and caps on out-of-network treatment costs, to SeniorCare coverage of vaccinations, among other provisions, the proposal touches on a wide variety of topics to respond to the needs of the people of Wisconsin.  The bill includes workers compensation coverage for first responders who contract the virus, although unfortunately this provision was weakened by a last minute amendment making it potentially more difficult to claim. 


While the legislation was not perfect and there is still more to be done, delay on these initial measures could have jeopardized the funds our state must receive to fight this virus. I believe the proposal was a crucial first step and I remain committed to continuing to work on legislation that can address both the public health and economic ramifications of this global pandemic.

The press release from my office is HERE.


Federal CARES Stimulus Funds

Most adults are entitled to receive up to $1,200, or $2,400 for joint married filers under the recently passed federal CARES Act.  Households can also receive up to $500 for each child that is 16 years old or younger.  Distribution of these funds began this week.  You can track the status of your funds through the IRS “Get my Payment” website HERE.

The best way to ensure you receive these funds as fast as possible is to file an income tax for last year or this year with your bank routing number.  Individuals who do not file income taxes can provide their routing information HERE.  Individuals receiving Social Security will also receive these funds through their existing benefit methods.  Further information about the entire program is available from the IRS HERE.


Federal CARES Supplemental and Expanded Unemployment Benefits


The new federal law expands coverage to workers who are not typically eligible for regular state UI benefits to provide temporary pandemic unemployment compensation of $600 a week to any worker eligible for state or federal unemployment insurance benefits through July 31, 2020.  The $600 will be paid in addition to and at the same time as regular state UI benefits.  Individuals receiving regular unemployment benefits will also begin to receive the expanded funds without applying separately.  More information is available HERE.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Applications for benefits by individuals who would not typically receive unemployment assistance but are eligible under the new federal program will be accepted starting the week of April 21Anyone who believes they would only qualify for the expanded federal benefits is advised to wait until that system goes live before filing a claim.


If you applied for regular benefits before the federal supplemental program was implemented and were denied, please reapply after April 21 for the new federal funds.  While individuals impacted by the expanded unemployment benefits of the new federal law have been accruing benefits due to being out of work, there has been a lag as states waited for federal guidance on how the program could be administered.


If you are unable to work at this time, you can file for state unemployment benefits HERE.  The best and fasted way to file a claim is online and not by telephone.  If you need to speak with a claims specialist by phone, but have been unable to connect, contact my office and we will try to assist in getting you a call back.


Support for Small Businesses

A primary source for assistance to small businesses is the US Small Business Administration.  All Covid-19 related information from the SBA is available Here.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation can also be a resource for businesses through this time, or any time.  Connect with them directly or read further about available resources HERE.


All Available Federal Benefits

To learn more about all federal benefits and assistance available at this time in addition to those highlighted above, go to  There you can answer a brief survey that can direct you to programs that may be able to help meet your individual needs. 

National Disaster Distress Helpline

This toll-free, multilingual 24/7 phone line provides immediate crisis counseling for people experiencing emotional distress related to disasters, including COVID-19.  Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common during times like this.  To speak with a counselor, call:

  • 1-800-985-5990
  • 1-800-846-8517 (TTY)
  • Or Text: TalkWithUs to 66746

Local Resources

Kenosha County is currently operating an online hub for information about Covid-19, resources available for local residents, and tips for staying healthy during this crisis.

Please visit their website HERE for all of the most up-to-date and local information.


COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update Tool

In addition to the information available from the Department of Health Services, the COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update Tool was developed by the Wisconsin Hospital Association to provide a dashboard of up-to-date information about the COVID-19 and the impact on hospitals in our state, including total hospital admissions, bed counts, ventilator availability, and statistics on the demand for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).  You can access this information HERE


Getting in Touch with the Governor's Office

Due to the high volume of phone calls the Governor's office has been receiving with questions regarding the response, they have encouraged individuals in need of assistance or interested in contacting the Governor’s office to use their online contact form in lieu of calling with any questions or concerns to ensure they can receive your contact and respond in a timely manner.  That is available HERE.  As always, remember that my office is also available to assist by phone or email.


CDC Guidance on Face Masks

The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing requirements are difficult to maintain, such as in grocery stores and pharmacies. Face masks are an effective way to capture droplets, which are a common mode of transmission for COVID-19. Read more about why face coverings are important and how to make your own HERE


Resource Links

The links below are constantly being updated with new information and resources. Please continue to visit them when you have questions or concerns. The link at the bottom for Kenosha County is an extremely useful tool and I encourage you to visit it frequently.


To view any other available state resources and a link to where you can go to utilize them, please visit the Department of Health resources page HERE.

If you have any questions regarding any information in this newsletter, or would like to speak with me or my staff, please feel free to contact me by phone at (608) 266-0455 or

Upcoming Events 





Phone: 608-237-9530           



Copyright © 2019 State Representative Tod Ohnstad, 65th Assembly District. All rights reserved.