Friends and Neighbors,


I write to you once again to provide a brief update on events related to the response over the past week to the COVID-19 pandemic.  I’d like to start by offering my continued appreciation to each member of our Kenosha community for the unrelenting resiliency and determination you have shown throughout this public health crisis. To everyone who has donated their time, resources, services, food, or even just made the necessary personal sacrifices to help keep our neighbors safe, I offer you my sincere gratitude and thanks.


May 1st is May Day, a day to celebrate workers.  To everyone who has continued to work in adverse circumstances, to those who have unfortunately temporarily lost employment due to the pandemic, and particularly to the first responders, caregivers, and all those on the front-lines fighting for our community, thank you.


At this time, we are ramping up our testing capacity in the state, coordinating how we will achieve the necessary contact tracing of the virus, and diligently working toward re-opening our state as soon as it is safely possible.  This week I participated in a legislative committee hearing on plans to re-open the state. We also saw some expansions of activities under the Safer at Home order this week and we are now in the process of executing the Governor’s Badger Bounce Back plan.


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



Tod Signature.gif (1)


COVID-19 in Wisconsin


Wisconsin COVID-19 Test Results

Test Results

Number of People as of ‎04/‎30‎/‎2020‎








  • Of the 6,854 positive cases, 391 are located in Kenosha County, and 12 individuals have died.  
  • For the most up-to-date data on testing, please visit the Department of Health Services website HERE.

The state’s testing results this week show that the state is by no means ‘out of the woods’ yet when it comes to flattening the curve of the spread, with a series of spikes around the state, including Kenosha County.  While modeling and testing data shows that Safer at Home restrictions have slowed the initial infection projections, we are continuing to see community spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, and yesterday we again saw the largest single day increase in positive cases.  Find the most current information on COVID-19 on the DHS website HERE.


Committee Considers Options for Re-opening


Yesterday, fellow Kenosha Representative Tip McGuire and I traveled to the Capitol to participate as committee members in a public meeting of the Assembly Committee on State Affairs to discuss issues surrounding the process for safely expanding economic activity during the response to the COVID-19 health emergency.


The informational hearing largely focused on a website-based approach supported by the state’s big business lobbying group, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, as well as Governor Evers’ Badger Bounce Back, the plan state agencies are currently implementing.  This was not a hearing on a legislative proposal that will come to a vote, but rather a discussion of the implications of various approaches.  The members heard testimony invited by the committee chairman representing certain industry sectors and the secretary of the state’s economic development agency, WEDC.  No medical professionals were invited to speak. 


I don’t know of a single person who does not want to fully re-open our great state as soon as possible.  The critical questions revolve around how we can do it safely and get back to our normal way of life without dire consequence for public health.


The scope of this global pandemic, which nationally has killed more Americans within a few short weeks than the many long years of the Vietnam War, represents uncharted territory in recent history.  Going too fast can have massive ramifications that would jeopardize the relative success we have had suppressing the spread under Safer at Home and lead to longer term required closures. 


We need a path forward that relies on medical evidence and expertise to do it right and build the needed consumer confidence that when people go to a store they will not risk their health.  Governor Evers’ plan provides a comprehensive framework that allows for flexibility and the ability to respond as we work through a three-phase approach based on metrics similar to the guidance of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. A release from the committee members from my caucus is HERE.


Turning the Dial under the Badger Bounce Back

This week DHS and Gov. Evers announced a new order to reduce some restrictions on certain business functions under the Safer at Home framework, with guidance on curbside dropoffs and pickups, car wash facilities, and recreational rentals.  These adjustments continue to turn the dial toward expanded business operations while we still work together to take on the health and economic threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The newest order is HERE.  A FAQ Memo is HERE.
  • The current Safer at Home order is HERE.

This week Gov. Evers also re-opened nearly all state parks and forests being today for citizens to use and enjoy with the appropriate safety precautions.  More information is HERE.

The Badger Bounce Back is the plan the state is implementing for re-opening based on testing, tracking, healthcare capacity, and data that shows we are steaming the spread.  These metrics, mirroring the guidance from the White House Task Force, provide a process for strategically and safely getting back to normal while relying on the medical and scientific evidence. As the state meets criteria that shows the virus is being managed and is not likely to substantially rebound based on premature actions, the state is able to move through the three phases of the framework to expand activities again. 

  • You can find a full copy of the Badger Bounce Back plan here, a one-page fact sheet on the Badger Bounce Back here, and our WEDC worker and businesses readiness doc here
  • The Badger Bounce Back plan and phased approaches to reopening our economy is also laid out in the formal order which can be found here.

It should also be noted that a lawsuit filed by legislative Republicans to overturn the current public health orders is pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  A decision could come at any time.


Hospitals Are OPEN


Please remember that hospitals are open for business for healthcare needs.  While the state’s Safer at Homes orders give do not restrict the authority for hospitals and healthcare facilities to open and operate, hospitals and providers are following guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and professional organizations to postpone non-emergency procedures due to COVID-19.  Nonetheless, hospitals encourage patients to use the emergency department or urgent care if they feel it necessary.


Patients should never hesitate to seek emergency care if they are experiencing symptoms. Our state’s hospitals and clinics are safe, clean and taking all necessary precautions to care for patients and their families.  Patients should also contact their provider to discuss when they can schedule other important care.


The Wisconsin Hospital Association has also launched a dashboard with information about the state response and capacity related to the COVID-19 HERE.


Unemployment Help for More Workers and Benefit Increases


Beginning this week Wisconsin will begin making the additional $600/week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments to those receiving unemployment benefits.  It will take several days to make all payments, but recipients should see initial resources by May 8. The payments are automatic to recipients of standard unemployment benefits or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) - you do not need to take any additional action.  More info on this program is HERE.


Wisconsinites who are out of work due to COVID-19 can now apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).  This federally funded program provides financial support to individuals who are self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited recent work history, and others who had not been eligible for standard unemployment but are unable to work due to the pandemic.  More info and the application link are HERE.


Having Trouble Receiving your Unemployment Benefits?


We are aware connecting with a claims specialist via phone to discuss unemployment benefits can be very difficult and frustrating as the department works to meet the unprecedented demand of the current pandemic.  While DWD staffing of call centers has doubled 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 have been actively calling and need to get through, but have been unable to connect, contact my office and we will try to assist in getting you a call back.


If the website says that a claim is "pending", it means there are eligibility issues that require further review by the department or they are in contact with your former employer for additional information.  Unfortunately, this can slow things down a bit, but you do not need to take further action unless DWD tells you otherwise while a claim is pending.  I understand that this is a tremendously difficult financial time for many out of work, and I am committed to helping you receive your benefits as soon as possible.


Support for Small Businesses


A primary source for assistance to small businesses is the US Small Business Administration. 

Additional federal funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, a popular and impactful forgivable small business loan program has been approved and applications are now being accepted.  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.

Businesses can request tax relief from the Department of Revenue. The following taxes are included: withholding, state and county sales tax, excise tax, local expo district tax, premier resort area tax, limousine tax, rental car tax, police and fire protection fee, and dry cleaning licensing fees. Businesses can fill out the COVID-19 Tax Relief form HERE


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. 


Kenosha Public Libraries Curbside Pickup

Beginning today Kenosha Public Libraries will be offering curbside pickup of books and materials at the Southwest Library (7979 38th Avenue).  More information is available at their website HERE.


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.  Read more about why face coverings are important and how to make your own HERE


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.


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


Upcoming Events 





Phone: 608-237-9530           



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