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The statewide COVID-19 website is a one stop shop that consolidates information from state agencies, and provides up-to-date information and guidance regarding COVID-19.

If you're not busy, please make a call, send a card, or write a letter to someone you know who lives alone of may need assistance.

Please, let them and your family know that you are thinking of them, and that we are here for each other.

Bless each of you during this difficult time of uncertainty and suffering. Take good care!

Contents

Wisconsin Supreme Court Hears Arguments over Safer at Home

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View the proceedings on WisconsinEye

Today the Wisconsin Supreme Court met virtually to hear the first case against the extension of Governor Evers' Safer at Home order under the authority of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

This case was filed by the Legislature, under the premise that the Safer at Home order should have been issued as an administrative rule, over which they would have authority. The Department of Justice, arguing on behalf of the Department of Health Services, argues that when it created Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 252: Communicable Diseases, the legislature authorized the Department to issue such orders to control the spread of communicable diseases. View the case history and briefs filed

Governor Evers Meets with Legislative Leaders and Announces Plan for Testing

Yesterday, Governor Evers unveiled a plan to make Wisconsin a leader in testing per capita for COVID-19 by achieving four particular goals:

  • respond to every outbreak throughout the state;
  • test every nursing home resident and staff member;
  • establish community testing programs in target communities; and
  • make sure everyone who has COVID-19 symptoms gets a test. Read more.

He also met with the leaders of the Legislature to discuss what comes next for Wisconsin as it responds to the Coronavirus. The meeting included the Governor, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley, and Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz. This meeting with both Democrats and Republicans at the table is a sign that there may be an opportunity for bipartisan solutions to come forward. However, Democrats and Republicans continued to disagree on the safety of a regional reopening plan. Read more.

Second Lawsuit Filed over Safer at Home

Two residents of Southeastern Wisconsin have filed a recent lawsuit claiming that the Governor's Safer at Home order infringes upon their constitutional rights to practice religion and exercise free speech. As with the Legislature's petition, the plaintiffs ask the Supreme Court to hear the case directly, bypassing lower courts. Read more.

Local Food Manufacturers Close due to COVID-19

Smithfield Foods will be closing its Patrick Cudahy plant for two weeks, after workers tested positive for coronavirus. 85 workers have tested positive at the meatpacking plant. OSHA has opened an investigation into safety practices employed at the plant. Read more.

Palermo's Pizza is also shutting down its manufacturing facility after the Milwaukee Health Department notified them that five of their employees have tested positive. Read more.

These developments have fallen under high scrutiny since an outbreak in the JBS Packerland meat-processing plant has led to a significant increase in the number of cases in Brown County. The Green Bay plant reopened today with reduced staff. Read more.

Testing Available Locally

Testing is an integral component of all of the proposed reopening plans for our state. In order to understand where outbreaks are occurring, we will need robust and responsive diagnostics.

Walgreens has opened a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot of their 620 W. Oklahoma Avenue location. 

Tests will be free of charge but an appointment is required.

Tests are available to individuals 18+ years old with symptoms; first responders, with or without symptoms; healthcare workers, with or without symptoms; and individuals prioritized by health departments or clinicians for any reason. Start Here.

Milwaukee Health Centers have also increased their testing capacity for people without a regular doctor. Two of the 5 health centers in the city are located within the district. They are:

Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers (414)-672-1353 and Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center (414)-383-9526 

Please call to receive guidance and information on testing before coming into any clinic. Read more.

Hospitals Continue to Accept Emergency Visits

Wisconsin Hospitals are continuing to see patients for emergency and urgent care. Some patients have reported that they delayed seeking care because they had concerns about safety or were under the impression that they would not be able to receive care during the pandemic emergency. Please do not hesitate to seek care if you are experiencing an emergency! Wisconsin's hospitals and clinics are safe, clean and taking all necessary precautions to care for patients and their families.

Many hospitals are looking at next steps as well to safely phase back into providing non-emergency care to patients.

Unemployment and Small Business Relief Available

As of Monday, over half a million Wisconsin residents have filed with the Department of Workforce Development for Unemployment since the outbreak began. The total benefits paid out so far have reached $384 million.

To begin the process of filing for unemployment, start at DWD's Unemployment Benefits for Claimants webpage, and click on “Apply for Benefits Online.”

If you do not qualify for standard unemployment, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is meant to provide benefits to many of those who are not eligible for regular Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance.

For more information about this process see the Unemployment FAQs and the Handbook for Claimants.

If you are a business owner, and your business has been affected, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has a webpage for COVID-19 Business Insights and Relief Information with information about local, state, and federal resources, such as the Small Business 20/20 Program for business with 20 or fewer employees, and the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program for businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

 

Hiring Opportunities Locally

Many local businesses such as food and grocery retail stores, government agencies, pharmacies and distribution and supplier corporation are exempt from the Milwaukee Stay-At-Home and Wisconsin's Safer at Home orders and really need new hires to meet current demand. 

If you are looking for new job opportunities, register as a DirectConnectMKE job seeking member or text @dcmke to 39197 to be guided through a series of questions and build a profile. For more info you can text @jthompson to 39197.

In-demand opportunities can also be found at the Job Center of Wisconsin

Historical Parallels between COVID-19 and Spanish Flu in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has produced a fascinating article looking into the actions that Wisconsin took 100 years ago during the outbreak of Spanish Influenza. Milwaukee was considered among the top 5 cities in the nation for minimizing damage. Read the article.