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COVID-19 E-Update #14

June 4, 2020

Dear Neighbor, 

Thank you for joining me for another weekly update on COVID-19 and the response in Wisconsin and in the Racine community. We are living through particularly challenging times, but I am so grateful all of you are working to stay informed, support our neighbors, and protect our community. Because of legislative rules during campaign season, I am only able to discuss COVID-19 in these updates, so I will not be addressing other current events. 

In the last week, Racine has been identified as a national COVID-19 hotspot. This means that we continue to see a very significant growth in cases. 85 percent of Racine’s COVID-19 cases are people of color, and women have also been disproportionately impacted. As Mayor Cory Mason shared in the article linked above, many of the COVID-19 positive members of our community are essential workers and do not have a choice about whether to leave their homes. 

We must do everything we can to keep our fellow community members safe, especially those who are making great sacrifices as essential workers. Please continue to practice social distancing, wear cloth face masks in public, wash your hands regularly, cover coughs and sneezes, and follow all other CDC recommendations during this pandemic. If you have been in group gatherings or large crowds in recent weeks, please consider getting a COVID-19 test — even if you were tested before.

Remember, these actions are not just protecting ourselves. They are protecting our friends, our family members, and our neighbors. It will take all of us to slow the spread of this virus and take Racine off of the national hotspot lists. Let’s #StaySafeRacine.

While I know this is a difficult time for everyone, we will get through this together. My staff and I are always here to help wherever we can. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via phone at (608) 266-0634 or via email at rep.neubauer@legis.wisconsin.gov.

In Solidarity,

 2018 NEUBAUER Signature.jpg

Greta Neubauer

State Representative

66th Assembly District


Important Links for COVID-19 Information: 

  • The Governor's office has launched a website with information and resources throughout the state government. You can visit it HERE.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has a website tracking COVID-19 in Wisconsin, including health-related resources from the CDC. This website is updated daily by 2:00 p.m. You can visit it HERE.
  • The City and County of Racine have launched COVID-19/Coronavirus websites with local information and resources. You can find Racine County’s website HERE, including daily updates from the Joint Information Center. The City of Racine’s website is available HERE.
  • This is a non-exhaustive list of resources and updates --  if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, you can find information for non-medical services online at 211 Wisconsin, dial 211 on your phone, or text your ZIP code to 898211.  

Reminder: Renter Assistance Program

Two weeks ago, Governor Evers announced the Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program (WRAP), a $25 million investment to provide short-term rental assistance of up to $3,000 to eligible Wisconsinites who experience income loss as a result of COVID-19. Details regarding the program are available HERE

Agencies will begin accepting applications on June 8, 2020. To apply, Racine residents should contact the Racine/Kenosha Community Action Agency at (262) 637-8377.


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Unemployment Updates 

The Department of Workforce Development is continuing to add new staff to assist in processing unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) applications and claims. A brand-new call center recently opened with 200 staff to help alleviate phone call wait times. DWD anticipates the center will be fully staffed with up to 600 people by the end of June.

Some PUA applicants began receiving payments last week. However, others may be seeing longer wait times for applications to be processed, because each application must be assessed by hand based on individual details.

If you have questions about the unemployment or PUA processes, the “Frequently Asked Questions” sections on the DWD website are updated regularly with new information. You can find the FAQ pages HERE.

Unemployment Assistance

If you applied for unemployment benefits but have not received them, my office may be able to help. If it has been at least three weeks since you submitted your application and you have not received your benefits, please email Rep.Neubauer@legis.wisconsin.gov with the following information: 

  • Full name (first name, last name, and middle initial)
  • Date of birth and last four digits of your Social Security Number
  • Address and phone number
  • Issue that needs to be resolved 
  • Information on your application
    • Date of your initial application
    • Did you apply for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)? 
    • What is the status of your claims? (i.e. pending due to review of ability to work) 
    • Have you received any communication from DWD since you submitted your application? (i.e. they asked you to submit pay stubs) 

My staff will send this information to the Department of Workforce Development and request that they promptly look into your case. I understand that this is a difficult financial time for many, and I am committed to helping you receive your unemployment benefits in a timely manner.

State Parks Hours Update 

All state park properties have returned to the regular operating hours of 6:00 am - 11:00 pm, and properties are no longer closed on Wednesdays. The DNR has announced that state campgrounds will reopen on Wednesday, June 10 with special conditions to ensure the safety of staff and visitors. Some of the changes that campers and park visitors will experience beginning June 10 include automatic touchless check-in and new signs to educate visitors on recreating responsibly. Park offices will remain closed to the public.

Visitors are reminded to practice social distancing, refrain from congregating in large groups, travel only within their home communities, and follow all existing state park rules and guidelines. Visitors are also encouraged to wear masks in situations where social distancing is difficult.

For more information regarding State Parks during COVID-19, including campground reservation information, please click HERE.

Reminder: Private Insurance Must

Cover COVID-19 Testing

This week, Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable issued a notice to insurers to help clarify language relating to testing for COVID-19 that was passed in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Corona Virus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). 

  • Testing for COVID-19 must be covered by private health insurance, including cost-sharing like copays for office, urgent care, and emergency department visits under the FFCRA and CARES.
  • Individuals with private insurance who have been tested for COVID-19 and subsequently received a bill to cover associated costs like the office visit or handling costs should speak to their insurer about having those services covered without cost-sharing. Wisconsinites can also file a complaint with OCI online here or by calling 1-800-236-8517.
  • Any office visit during which a provider determines a COVID-19 test is needed and orders a test must also be covered by most insurers without cost-sharing.
  • Enacted in March 2020, the FFCRA and CARES Act together require many private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 testing and related services, including office visits (both in-person and telehealth), urgent care visits, and emergency department visits that are related to diagnostic testing for COVID-19. Both acts also collectively require those insurers to provide these services at no cost to those they insure. The CARES Act specifically expanded the range of COVID-19 diagnostic services that must be covered and requires any COVID-19 vaccine to be covered at no cost to consumers.
  • Federal requirements regarding testing include most health insurers. Specifically, these federal requirements apply to plans that are fully insured or self-funded plans, non-federal, governmental plans, and church plans. Individual and group health insurance plans offered through and outside of the federal Marketplace as well as grandfathered and transitional health plans must also meet these requirements.
  • More information can be found in the complete notice to insurers here. Insurers with questions about the FFRA and Cares Act are encouraged to consult this Frequently Asked Questions resource from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) or the federal guidance issued by CMS and the Departments of Labor and the Treasury.

Safe Shopping Resources During COVID-19:

The Racine Mobile Market

Struggling to make it to the grocery store during COVID-19? The Racine Mobile Market is continuing to make stops throughout the Racine area during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is welcome to shop at the market, which is  run by the Hunger Task Force and stocked by Malicki’s Piggy Wiggly. The market accepts debit, credit and Quest/EBT cards, but not cash.

The Hunger Task Force has enacted new public health guidance at each mobile market stop to ensure shoppers maintain social distancing. The Mobile Market will take your grocery orders at the entrance, where a staffer will track and complete your shopping and then completes the payment transaction at the other end of the bus. These measures ensure that only one individual — who wears gloves at all times — is handling produce, shopping carts and grocery bags before you receive your groceries. Shoppers are asked to maintain 6 feet of distance in line. 

To find out where the Racine Mobile Market is stopping next, check the calendar HERE.