Friends and Neighbors,


As we begin a new week that hopefully includes plenty of sunshine, I write to provide an update on the pandemic response and other issues in our community


While I wish there was more positive news, the number of COVID-19 cases has surged in Wisconsin and across much of the country in recent weeks.  Following increases that saw the state’s count double the number of cases it saw in the first five months in only the few weeks between Memorial Day and Independence Day, we have went on to see a series of back-to-back new record high reports edged close to 1,000 new cases.  The seven day average is the highest it has ever been.


Although the state was relatively successful at suppressing the spread under the initial public health orders, premature returns to normal without sufficient precautions meant we took one step forward and two steps back.  Medical experts have made it clear the data shows the uptick is much more than simply expanded testing, but expanded community transmission of the virus. 


Everyone will need to do their part to minimize the continued spread of the coronavirus.  We all must wear a mask, maintain appropriate distancing, limit unnecessary interactions, and wash our hands regularly.


I wish you all a continued happy and safe summer. I will continue to keep you updated on developments in our state and community via my legislative website and Facebook page.  I always welcome your feedback and opinions, so please feel free to contact me at (608) 266-0455 or




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Wisconsin COVID-19 summary


Data as of ‎07/19‎/‎2020‎

Negative Test Results


Positive Test Results





  • Of the 43,018 positive test results, 2,027 have come in Kenosha County, and 47 individuals have died.
  • For the most up-to-date data on testing, please visit the Department of Health Services website HERE.


While our local spread is currently behind Milwaukee and Dane Counties, Kenosha County remains among the highest transmission areas in the state.  Kenosha Health Director Freiheit notes local cases are often spread through gatherings both large and small, spanning birthday parties, sleepovers, barbecues, baby showers, and other get-togethers.  Spread is further attributed to high levels of people who are asymptomatic themselves, but are infecting their friends, family, coworkers, or customers through close contact.


Statewide intervention orders surrounding gathering or masks that other states have undertaken are legally unattainable now in our state due to the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision restricting the authority of the Department of Health Services, as well inaction by the current majority in the Legislature who had filed that lawsuit to provide additional authority or assistance.  Nonetheless, this is a shared responsibility and our citizens need to take this virus seriously.  If you feel you may have come into contact, get tested. Contact your doctor or find more about available community testing sites from DHS HERE.


Find the most current information on COVID-19 on the DHS website HERE.


Unemployment Reforms

Last week my Democratic colleagues and I announced a package of proposals to improve the state's unemployment system and remove barriers to ensure Wisconsinites are able to use this critical safety net program when they need it most.


While unemployment benefits have been enhanced during the pandemic, the dramatic increase of demand highlighted problems in the program, as a sizable number of filers have faced long delays receiving benefits.  Beyond the scope of the waves of new claims, outdated technology and burdensome bureaucratic requirements passed in the previous administration have been identified as the reasons citizens are experiencing delays or denials.  These bills would ensure individuals with disabilities are not excluded from receiving benefits and would address unnecessary provisions designed to stall or stop a claim to an out-of-worker worker in need.  Read more HERE.


Kenosha Small Business Forgivable Loan Fund

The City of Kenosha, with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation, is launching a Small Business Assistance Forgivable Loan Program to assist micro and small businesses impacted by the pandemic.


The Common Council has allocated federal CARES funds to make loans of up to $15,000 to at least 23 businesses in our community.  The application period begins on Friday, July 24 at noon and will remain open until noon on Friday, July 31.  All information about this forgivable loan product is available on WWBIC’s website at


WEDC Study and Task Force on Broadband Access

The pandemic presents both an economic and public health emergency.  The Evers Administration recently submitted a detailed report to the Legislature about the impact of the virus on our state economy and the plan for the pathway to recovery.

Far from just a document to be left on the shelf, the recommendations are already getting put into motion, as last week Gov. Evers announced the formation of a new Task Force on Broadband Access.

View the report here:

Information about the Task Force on Broadband Access is here:


The People’s Maps Commission - Redistricting

Wisconsin does best when people work together and compromise. However, gerrymandered legislative districts have allowed ideology and special interests to both block proposals that are broadly supported and advance policies that are not in the best interest of the people of our state.


Gov. Evers has announced the formation of a nonpartisan commission to develop new legislative district lines without political influence. Learn more about the People's Maps Commission and how to apply to serve as a member before July 31 here:


The people should get to choose their elected officials, not the other way around.


Federal HEROES Act

My Democratic colleagues and I have sent a letter calling on US Senators Johnson and Baldwin to support and pass the federal HEROES Act (H.R.6800). This would extend the deadline for expanded federal unemployment payments through January 2021, in addition to bringing nearly $8.5 billion in needed aid to Wisconsin’s state, local, and tribal governments and ensuring that working people, front line workers, small businesses, and hospitals are supported during this crisis.

Sen. Baldwin has been a strong supporter, but we ask that Sen. Johnson press the Senate majority for action on this important legislation for our state and nation.

The letter is here:


PPE Distribution

Governor Evers has announced additional efforts to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) to schools, food processors and businesses across the state. The Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) has initiated the process of shipping more than 2 million cloth face masks and more than 4,200 infrared thermometers to K-12 public, charter and private schools throughout the state. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is also helping to facilitate the delivery of approximately 60,000 masks to local food processors and businesses.


Hot Car Rescue Law

Summer heat is here and with it comes the risks associated with children and pets left in hot cars. In Wisconsin, good samaritans who find this situation and take the required initial steps are empowered to act to break into the car to rescue the occupant without facing legal liability.


I was proud to author and champion this state law in 2015. Learn more about the steps you need to take to take action here:


Kenosha County ADRC Offering Grocery Delivery for Seniors

Need help getting groceries while staying safer at home? The Kenosha County Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) can help bridge the gap for those who want to limit trips to public spaces or need help with online grocery shopping. Free assistance is now being offered through a partnership between the ADRC, certain grocery stores and KAC. Staff will place your grocery order with you over the phone and schedule a free delivery through Care-A-Van at your convenience. Payment is accepted by check or card.  Go HERE to learn more.


Summer Safety

Beyond general guidelines for preventing COVID-19 spread, the Department of Health Services has also shared some summer specific to other summer activities. Best practices for beachgoers is HERE. All additional summer activity related guidance is available HERE  under “Questions for Summer” tab.  State campgrounds have also reopened with certain restrictions.  You can read more about these changes on the DNR website HERE.


Rental Assistance Program

Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency is accepting applications for the Governor’s Rental Assistance Program, which provides grants of up to $3,000 to help pay for rent and security deposits. Contact Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency at (262) 657-0840 or You can learn more about the Rental Assistance Program on the Department of Administration (DOA) website HERE.


Kenosha County Kickstart and Re-opening Guidance

Kenosha County has developed a local plan to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 while bringing back our economy.  More information about the Kenosha Kickstart is available HERE.

Additional statewide safe reopening guidelines from WEDC are available HERE.

The Department of Workforce Development has also updated work safety guidance HERE.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings.  Read more 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.


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. 


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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Phone: 608-237-9530           



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