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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

Health Experts Testify before Congress

200512 US Senate Health Committee Win McNamee and Getty Images reform360.png

Photo via CNN credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Today,

Doctor Anthony Fauci (Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

Doctor Robert Redfield (Director of the CDC),

Admiral Brett Giroir, MD (Assistant Secretary for Health), and

Doctor Stephen Hahn (Commissioner of the FDA)

testified virtually before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions in order to provide updated information about the national strategy and circumstances related to COVID-19 in the United States of America, and to talk about how our nation can safely get back to work and school. Watch the video.

They were asked to provide clarity about how the United States' approach fits into the data that we have at hand, and to provide insight into the current national strategies to combat Coronavirus. 

They continued to reaffirm the need to follow guidelines such as testing and contact tracing in order to avoid unnecessary deaths. Read more

Free Testing is Available Throughout Locally

See Impact 211's Helpful Map of local testing sites and instructions for each site

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.


Yesterday, the National Guard began administering free testing without an appointment from 8am until 8pm, 7 days a week. Anyone can get a test for COVID-19 at 2 sites in the City of Milwaukee, they are in the parking lot UMOS at South Chase and West Rosedale Avenues on the South Side, and the parking lot of the Midtown shopping center at North 57th Street and West Capitol Drive on the North Side.

No appointment is necessary and you do not need to be exhibiting symptoms in order to get tested at these sites, although people with symptoms are especially encouraged to get tested. Walk up or drive up visitors are both welcome at these two sites.


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.

Emergency Order #36 Effects for Retail

Beginning yesterday, Governor Evers' and DHS Secretary Andrea Palm's Emergency Order #36 makes it so non-essential businesses may open for in-person retail so long as they do the following:

1. Only use entrances to the outside. Any entrances through a mall or interconnected passage must remain closed. If the store does not have an entrance to the outside, it may not offer in-person retail.

2. Only allow 5 customers in the store at a time.

3. Maintain social distancing at all times. If a store cannot maintain social distancing with 5 customers in the store, it will need to lower the number of customers allowed in at a time.

4. Establish a line outside the store to control entry, with markings so customers know where to stand to ensure social distancing. Alternatively, stores could allow customers to wait in their cars and notify them by phone or text when it’s their turn to enter the store.

5. Restrict the number of staff to only what is strictly necessary.

6. Increase standards of facility cleaning and disinfecting to limit staff and customer exposure to COVID-19 and adopt protocols to clean and disinfect in the event of a positive COVID-19 case.

7. Adopt policies to prevent staff from entering the store if they display respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.

8. Face coverings are recommended for staff and customers.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, working together with national and state health and industry experts has completed a set of industry-specific documents aimed to get businesses ready to reopen while following the necessary safety precautions. On WEDC's website you can find the general guidelines for all businesses, as well as industry specific guidelines.

Elder Abuse Hotline

Attorney General Josh Kaul and the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources announced the launch of a new elder abuse hotline yesterday. To report abuse, you can call 1-833-586-0107 if there is life threatening danger, call 911.

Studies have shown that elder abuse is unfortunately under-reported. This hotline is a way to assist victims and their families and friends who are concerned about scams, but also physical and emotional abuses that may be taking place. Since 2001, elder abuse cases in Wisconsin have more than doubled. See the Attorney General's press release.

Milwaukee Common Council Members Request Extension of Deadline to Appeal Property Tax Assessments

Recently, residents of the City of Milwaukee have noticed sometimes surprising increases in the assessed value of their homes. Residents can appeal their assessment, but currently have until 4:45pm on May 18th to do so.

Alders Dimitrijevic, Coggs, and Hamilton have sent a joint letter to the City of Milwaukee Board of Review requesting an extension of this deadline. Alders Johnson, Kovac, Bauman, and Borkowski also signed on to the letter.

They argue that the difficulties caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic fall under the category of "extraordinary circumstances" which normally can allow the Board of Review to waive the appeal deadline.

Unemployment and Small Business Relief Available

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 $941 million, including the additional Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation created by the CARES Act.

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.

Masks Were Used for the Spanish Flu too

One hundred years ago, masks were also a prominent tool used to reduce the spread of the Spanish Flu and other viral infections.

Like today, there were also debates about the style, comfortability and effectiveness of masks used to combat the Spanish Flu. In San Francisco there was even an "Anti-Mask League." Other areas referred to those who didn't wear masks as "mask slackers." Read more.