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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

As you know, the situation around COVID-19 continues to develop. Therefore, I wanted to make sure you knew about a couple of important updates. The first is that Governor Evers' administration has issued an extension of the stay at home order. The new order will go into effect on April 24 and remain in place until May 26. There are a couple of updates to this order from the one currently in place, click here for more information.

Staying home not only protects yourself and your loved ones, but it also gives our health care professionals and other frontline workers the best chance to be able to care for those who do become ill.

The second update is regarding the governor's recently announced Badger Bounce Back plan, which seeks to decrease COVID-19 cases and deaths to a low level and increase capacity in our health care system so that a phased reopening of businesses is possible. 

A key component of this plan is a call for increased testing and tracing of COVID-19 cases. More information about this part of the plan is included below.
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Sincerely, 

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LaTonya Johnson
State Senator


*This information is up-to-date as of 1 p.m. April 23. Please note that this situation is always changing, so please utilize the resources provided below and check them periodically for the most current information. I will also post updates on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

Contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Take Care of your Mental Health during this Pandemic

If all the COVID-19 news is making you feel overwhelmed or frightened, contact the SAMHSA Disaster Helpline:

Call DistressLine at 1-800-985-5990
Text TalkWithUs to 66746

The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7 365 day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human caused-disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents of the United States and its territories.

 

Badger Bounce Back Plan

 

 

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The information and best-practices around COVID-19 are evolving rapidly as we learn new information and acquire additional resources. Governor Tony Evers released his Badger Bounce Back plan to reopen Wisconsin. The key component of this plan is expanding testing criteria and increasing lab capacity.

Everyone who needs a test should get a test, period. With the help of community partners, Evers' has set an ambitious goal of 85,000 tests per week or about 12,000 tests per day to ensure Wisconsinites' safety. 

I have heard from community members that they were turned away from getting a test because they did not meet the criteria for getting one. For a variety of reasons, tests were being reserved primarily for frontline workers and those with underlying health conditions.

Because of the increase in testing capacity thanks to Wisconsin's many community partners, if a medical professional believes you should be tested based on your symptoms you should able to get a test. Furthermore, doctors and medical facilities are being encouraged to test even those with mild symptoms.

If you are sick and think you may have COVID-19 please call your regular medical provider for testing information.

If you do become ill and think you may have COVID-19, but do not have a regular doctor's office there are options for you, too, as Ascension St. Joseph will be able to connect you to one.

You will still need to be screened first. It is crucial that you do not go to the testing site without an appointment. If you do not have a connection to a medical provider and would like to be prescreened by Ascension, please call the Ascension COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-981-0711.

Click here to read important information from Ascension about the testing process as well as to get information about their commitment to ensuring everyone, regardless of insurance status, can access care for COVID-19 should they need it.

Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. is also now a testing site. In fact, Governor Evers has sent members of the National Guard to assist them in this effort. There are two teams of citizen-soldiers staffing standup specimen collection sites at Milwaukee Health Services Inc.’s clinics on Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. and Silver Spring Road. Call 414-372-8080 to make an appointment if you believe you should be tested.

As with any medical emergency, if you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest or bluish lips or face, contact your health care provider or emergency room and seek care immediately.  

Other Tips for Stopping the Spread of COVID-19
If you do leave your home to complete an essential task, it is critically important to follow 'social distancing' guidelines. That is, keep yourself at least 6 feet from others at all times. Governor Evers' administration has extended the Safer at Home order until May 26, with some modifications from the previous order. 

It has also been recommended for people to cover their face while out in the community. Wearing a cloth face-covering CORRECTLY can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others. When you go out on essential trips, follow the 'to-dos' included in the graphic below. 

If you have a child, remember those under age 2 should not wear a face covering. More info can be found, here. 

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Information for Survivors of Abuse
I understand that home may not always be a safe space for some members in our community and that right now is an especially difficult time for survivors of domestic violence. I am grateful to all of the advocates around the state who are working tirelessly to offer support and make sure people are safe. Those who are looking to make a safety plan or someone to talk to can find an advocate by visiting www.endabusewi.org/get-help.

 

Resources Round-Up

 

The most common issue that my office is hearing about right now is the need for information about unemployment benefits. The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is working hard to review, approve, and disburse the unprecedented number of claims that have been filed in recent weeks. However, backlogs continue to persist with unemployment benefits at this time. 

If you are unable to reach DWD by phone and have questions related to the status of your claim, please reach out to my office at Sen.Johnson@legis.wi.gov for assistance. We will forward your inquiry to DWD to look into your request.

When reaching out to my office, please include the following details:

  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • Home address
  • Brief summary of the issue you are having (for example: can't get through to the unemployment line, questions about when you will see your benefits, etc.)
  • Status of your application, including the method of which you applied (online or by phone), the date you submitted your initial claim, the current status of your claim, and any other relevant details. 

Applying online is the most-efficient way to apply for benefits and can be done, here

If you do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits, other options may be available to you, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Click here if you are unsure which unemployment program you should apply for. 

Here are other places to find trusted resources and information:

  • Click here for Governor Evers' webpage that includes resources from across state agencies, including information about filing for unemployment benefits, resources for small businesses, information about telehealth services, and more.  

  • Click here for Congresswoman Gwen Moore's list of resources, which includes how to cover basic necessities like food, child care resources for health care workers, and more. 

  • Click here for U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin's list of resources, which includes information about direct cash payments approved by the federal government (CARES Act), resources for small businesses, resources for veterans, and more. 

You can also call 2-1-1 or visit their website, here, for information and assistance during this unprecedented time.  

Click here for Milwaukee County's COVID-19 webpage.

Click here for the City of Milwaukee's COVID-19 website.

I hope you find the above resources helpful. However, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions at Sen.Johnson@legis.wi.gov.  

 

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Want to help spread the message to #StayHome?

Take the pledge on the StayHomeMKE webpage. Once you take the pledge, you can share it on your social channels. Tag friends and family and invite them to take the pledge too.

 

A quick note about the Community Connections newsletter:

State law says that legislators who are up for re-election are prohibited from distributing more than 49 pieces of substantially identical materials during election cycles. This rule went into effect on April 15.

Recent legislation waives this rule for communications pertaining to the current public health emergency. Therefore I will be unable to distribute any non-COVID-19 related news for the time being. Follow me on social media for updates on state and community news!

 

 

Useful Phone Numbers

There are many levels of state and local government that can help answer questions and get you connected with resources you may need. I have listed some useful phone numbers below. You can also see a comprehensive list of numbers by clicking the link below. If you see a change needed or an important number that should be added, please let me know! 

Congresswoman Gwen Moore.............................414-297-1140
Governor Evers.....................................................608-266-1212
Milwaukee Common Council...............................414-286-2221
Milwaukee County Board....................................414-278-4222
Milwaukee Police Department.............................414-933-4444
Poison Control......................................................800-222-1222
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program..............800-815-0015

Medigap Helpline.................................................800-242-1060
Consumer Protection Hotline..............................800-422-7128
Department of Health Services............................608-266-1865
Workforce Development......................................608-266-3131
Public Service Commission..................................800-225-7729
SeniorCare Wisconsin.........................................800-657-2038
WI Commissioner of Insurance Complaints.......800-236-8517


For other useful phone numbers, click here!