Friends and Neighbors,


I write once again to provide you with another update on Covid-19, and how the state government is responding to the public health crisis. On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a split 4-3 decision striking down the state’s Safer at Home public health order immediately.  This ruling essentially strips the state of the evidence-based re-opening plan Governor Evers has developed and the state had been implementing.  Following this, Kenosha County briefly extended the order at the local level, but that has subsequently been withdrawn due to legal guidance the county has received regarding the implications of the Supreme Court decision.


My colleagues and I will continue to work with each other and Governor Evers to mitigate the dramatic impact Covid-19 has had on businesses and individuals alike. We will also continue the fight to keep our communities as safe as possible, but in the meantime, I ask you to please continue practicing social distancing, wear a mask when you are in public spaces, and keep the health of both yourself and our most vulnerable neighbors in mind when you are making decisions.


Once again, I would like to offer my continued thanks to each one of my Kenosha neighbors who have helped their families and our shared community in any way during this time. I encourage you to continue to offer your assistance to those in need whenever you have the time and resources, support small businesses in our community, and stay focused on the objective. We all share in this fight, and each one of us will play a critical role moving forward to help us win.


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



Number (%) of People as of ‎5‎/‎15‎/‎2020‎

Negative Test Results


Positive Test Results



1,977 (17%)




  • Of the 11,685positive cases, 780 are located in Kenosha County, and 17 individuals have died.  
  • For the most up-to-date data on testing, please visit the Department of Health Services website HERE.

As evidence that the virus we face does not follow the legal opinions of state courts, today marks the second largest single day increases in positive cases the state has experienced so far with 410 new diagnosed cases over the past 24 hours despite what was viewed as a relative downward trajectory earlier this week.  Kenosha and Racine counties in particular have seen substantial recent upticks in the amount of positive tests.   Find the most current information on COVID-19 on the DHS website HERE.


Supreme Court Decision

As you know, this week the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the Governor’s Safer at Home order in a 4-3 decision.  While I am not surprised with the ruling given the current political makeup of the court, I am disappointed with the decision by these four members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which disrupts the relative success our state had been seeing at suppressing a global pandemic through necessary interventions. 


More shocking was the decision to lift the safety order in one fell swoop, without any of the federally recommended protocols put in place for the aftermath of their decision to delete the protections immediately. 


As a result of the Supreme Court decision, future state responses will now need to be redeveloped through a cumbersome bureaucratic process of administrative rulemaking which limits the ability of state health officials to move swiftly to address the changing needs of the state in response to the pandemic. 


Despite this ruling, my colleagues and I will continue to work with Governor Evers, health officials, and business leaders to work to safely reopen our state. We will continue to do this with the best medical and scientific guidance available, and with the health and safety of Wisconsin residents and reinvigorating our economy as our top priorities.


While the news this week has been troubling from a public health perspective, I continue to appreciate and find inspiration from the people in our Kenosha community who have come together throughout this crisis.  I know that most of our citizens understand the gravity of the current situation and have hunkered down and pulled together to meet the need of these unprecedented circumstances.  I ask that we all continue to stay strong, stay safe, and stay well.  We need to wash our hands, continue practicing social distancing, wear masks in public spaces, and we need to remember that according to our top medical experts regardless of the ruling of a court, we “remain safer at home.”


You can review the decision and the dissenting court opinions HERE.


Legislative Democrats Offer Response Proposals

Following the Supreme Court decision to strike down the state's Safer at Home health order at the request of GOP legislative leaders, this week my colleagues and I put forward response proposals to work to address the issues our state is facing due to the global pandemic.  Find out more HERE.


Best Practices for Businesses Reopening and Safe Workplaces

Following the court decision, we can nonetheless implement best practices for safely reopening.  Last week, Governor Evers and WEDC provided guidelines for businesses to re-engage safely so employees and customers can feel confident in their return.  Those are available here:


The Department of Workforce Development has also updated their Safety Works website, with information pertaining to COVID-19 HERE.


Expanding Testing and Tracing

Testing is a major component of the plans to begin reopening and the Evers Administration has launched a website and formal initiative through the Wisconsin National Guard to expand community testing.  For example, all nursing home residents and staff will be tested as part of this effort. 

Currently symptomatic individuals or those who have come into contact with an infected person can get a test by contacting their doctor.  An area testing site that has provided free drive through testing of symptomatic individuals is also taking tests through 6pm tonight at Burlington High School (400 McCanna Pkwy in Burlington, Racine County).  As of this morning, that location had taken roughly 1,300 specimens.  Prior testing had also been conducted by the National Guard in our area, with more than 650 tests collected at the Kenosha County Pre-trial facility and Kenosha County Detention Center, over 130 tests at a Pleasant Prairie meat processing facility, and over 400 tests meat packing facility in Kenosha.  This is in addition to hospital-based testing.

More information about testing is available through a special DHS website HERE.


Unemployment Assistance

We are aware connecting with a claims specialist via phone to discuss unemployment benefits can be difficult and frustrating as the department works to meet the unprecedented demand of the current pandemic.  While DWD call staffing and capacity continues to expand, it is not easy to get through. 

The best and fastest way to file a claim is online and not by telephone.  However, we know portions of your application can require you to speak with a claims specialist.  If you cannot get through and need assistance, contact my office.


All Available State and Federal Benefits

To learn more about all benefits and assistance available at this time at the state or national level, go to and  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.


CDC Guidance on Face Masks

The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings such as in grocery stores and pharmacies.  Read more 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 for folks in our area and I encourage you to visit it frequently.


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


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