COVID-19 Community Update                                           March 20, 2020

Friends and Neighbors, 

I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy, following state and federal health guidelines, and remaining home whenever possible. 

Individuals across our community, state, and nation are working together to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 and to flatten the curve to reduce the number of new cases. With this rapidly evolving situation, and much uncertainty, I am reaching out to you to provide resources and information available about the COVID-19 outbreak. Together we must work to sustain our public services and ensure the needs of all of our community are met, while also working to contain, mitigate, and prevent further spread. 

My office is available to you as a resource-- while we are practicing social distancing and working from home, my staff and I are still answering all phone messages and emails, and working with state and local agencies each day. We are here for assistance, so please do not hesitate to email at Rep.Sargent@legis.wisconsin.gov or give us a call at (608)-266-0960. 


In Service,

Melissa Sargent
State Representative
48th Assembly District



General Information

 For more information on COVID-19 visit:


 Early Voting

As many of you know, Wisconsin's spring election is set for Tuesday, April 7th. With the current public health emergency facing our state and nation, it is imperative that we continue to self-distance and stay safe and healthy. At the same time we must also uphold the integrity of our democracy and have our voices be heard. You can vote early and avoid the polls by: 

For more information visit the Elections Commission website.


 Prevention & Care

As the count of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin continues to rise, many are concerned that they may have the virus and are wondering how to best proceed. Public health officials are urging residents to stay calm, stay home, and avoid unnecessary use of emergency medical systems in a time of employee strain and supply shortages. 

“‘If everyone who thinks they have it goes to urgent care or an emergency department, it overwhelms our ability to care for other people who need emergency services,” said Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer for UW Health

If you’re worried about symptoms in yourself or others, here are some tips from health experts about what to do:

  • Consider your level of risk
  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Monitor your symptoms
  • Call your doctor
  • Consider getting tested
  • Isolate

While at this time resources continue to be limited, Governor Evers is doing all he can to ensure access to tests and testing capacity for our state’s residents. Further, there are everyday preventive actions we all can take as precautions to help avoid or minimize the spread of germs. Public health leaders urge residents to:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Take precautionary measures for yourself and your family and prioritize your personal health and safety! 


Employment Resources

The Department of Workforce Development

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has many resources available for those who may face employment related issues during this time. You can find more info here.


Unemployment Benefits

Wisconsin unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If an employer must shut down operations due to the COVID-19 outbreak and no work is available, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the monetary criteria and the weekly eligibility criteria. If you are unsure of whether or not you will qualify for unemployment benefits at this time, DWD encourages you to still apply or to  reach out with questions. 

As a result of Governor Evers Emergency order you do not need to do a work search during the Governor's declared emergency. The Department is in the process of making the necessary updates. No action is needed on your part regarding the work search.

For fast, up-to-date information and to apply for unemployment benefits, please head to https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/ui/.


Work-Share Program

The Work-Share Program (also called Short-Term Compensation or STC), is designed to help both employers and employees. Instead of laying off workers, a qualified employer can plan to reduce work hours across a work unit. Workers whose hours are uniformly reduced under an approved Work-Share plan receive unemployment benefits that are pro-rated for the partial work reduction. You learn more about this program or apply at: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uitax/workshare.htm

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), in partnership with Governor Evers, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and local Chambers of Commerce, are working hard to provide relief for Wisconsin businesses. You can read more about their response efforts here

Businesses are strongly encouraged to keep track of costs resulting from the outbreak's impact. In the event that assistance becomes available, businesses with records will move more quickly through the system and receive higher payouts.


Economic Injury Disaster Loans:

Gov. Tony Evers submitted a request to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to assist businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. 

More details on the EIDL program can be found here


Small Business 20/20:

This week WEDC approved Small Business 20/20, a $5 million grant program designed to support small businesses and micro-enterprises impacted by COVID-19. Find out more here.


Community Resources

Food Resources

It is vital that we work together to preserve public health and safety, while at the same time ensuring that our friends and neighbors are taken care of in light of the impacts that these shutdowns are having on our community. If you or someone you know is in need of food resources at this time please visit the following resources:


Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD)

Wisconsin schools are now closed in order to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I commend Governor Tony Evers for his leadership in making this call for our state, in order to best keep all of our children and families healthy and to further containment efforts.

Now, we as a community have a duty and responsibility to ensure that all kids and families across Wisconsin have the resources they need to get by without school being in session. Here in Madison, although schools are closed, Madison Schools - MMSD will be providing free and nutritious meals to kids each day at sites across the city. For information on sites and times please visit: https://www.madison.k12.wi.us/mmsd-covid-19-neighborhood-fo…

For further information, from childcare to food and healthcare resources, visit: https://www.madison.k12.wi.us/mmsd-covid-19-community-resou…


How to Help

Give Back

Give blood: Right now, the Red Cross is experiencing blood drive cancellations like no other time in recent history and their inventory is at critical levels. Their sites are taking extra precautions to make sure giving blood is safe. If healthy please consider giving blood by calling 1-800-RedCross or going to redcrossblood.org to find a blood donation location nearest you that is currently open by simply putting in your zip code.

Volunteer: If you or someone you know is looking to help out others through financial assistance, providing food, or volunteering for childcare, supply delivery, food prep, or other needs, please fill out this form from the Madison General Defense Committee at: https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLScnpw-ScLBjjNCaP…/viewform…

Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity of Dane County is already seeing the economic impact it is having on Habitat partner families right here in Dane County. Many Habitat families are working on the front lines – stocking shelves to make sure you have supplies, preparing and delivering food, working in critical childcare, and even serving in the clinics and hospitals that are working so hard to take care of everyone. They are doing this while paying increased childcare costs while schools remain closed. Other Habitat families are being adversely affected as their work hours are reduced or cut completely – leaving them with no income at all. 

That’s why we're starting an emergency Family Relief Fund to offer mortgage relief for Habitat homeowners impacted by COVID-19 – giving families room in their budgets to make up for lost income due to the quarantine, healthcare costs, and extra childcare fees. Habitat families in Dane County need you! Please consider donating to Habitat’s Family Relief Fund and help a family make their mortgage payment by donating at habitatdane.org/donate or mail a check to Habitat for Humanity of Dane County, 3101 Latham Dr., Madison, WI 53713.


Support Local Businesses

While it is vital to practice social distancing and restrict non-essential gatherings in order to mitigate the spread and impacts of COVID-19, this continues to have a negative impact on our local businesses and service industry employees.

Whether we buy gift cards for the future, shop online from locally sourced shops, or simply thank a service worker or small business owner, please keep in mind how we can support local establishments during this time without risking your health or the health of others. If you do pick up food or order in, consider tipping extra for our friends working in the service industry during this difficult time.

Above all, we can best assist local business and our nation’s economy by taking this pandemic seriously and containing COVID-19. By diligently practicing social distancing and self-isolation, we have the ability to contain the spread of this virus and return our communities, state, and nation back to our normal ways of life. While the situation may appear that it will get worse before it gets better, together, if we each take responsibility for our personal actions, we can prevent further spread and turn our focus to prevention and mitigation efforts. In the long-run, this ensures that local business and employees can get back to work for good!

Thank you to all of our local businesses owners and workers for your contributions to our community!

To support local restaurants, check out the Wisconsin Restaurant Association statewide searchable list of restaurants open for carryout/delivery during this time here


 Other State Agency Resources

Department of Agriculture, Trade, & Consumer Protection (DATCP) 

Visit https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/News_Media/Covid19.aspx for more information on: 

  • Price Gouging​​​​​​​​, Scams, and False Marketing​​​
  • Food Suppl​y and Delivery​​​
  • Employment
  • Animal Welfare
  • Crops & Agribusiness
  • Toolkit for farmers and agricultural businesses to help them plan and implement their response to COVID-19: https://datcp.wi.gov/Documents/DATCP%20COVID-19%20Toolkit.pdf


Department of Public Instruction (DPI)

Visit https://dpi.wi.gov/sspw/2019-novel-coronavirus for more information on:

  • School closures
  • Resources for administrators and teachers
  • Virtual and distance learning
  • Food and nutrition 


Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC)

Visit https://oci.wi.gov/Pages/Regulation/Bulletin20200306COVID-19.aspx for more information on: 

  • Telehealth services
  • Payment for testing
  • Increased access to prescription drugs


Department of Children & Families (DCF)

 Visit https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/covid-19 for more information on: 

  • Child care information
  • Child welfare information


Department of Administration (DOA)

Visit https://dpm.wi.gov/Pages/Employees/Coronavirus-COVID-19.aspx for more information on: 

  • Division of Personnel Management - State employees 

Department of Transportation (DOT)

Visit https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/covid-19.aspx for more information on:

  • DMV updates
  • DMV online services
  • Public meeting status

Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Wisconsin State Parks and Trails will remain open. While these properties are open to the public, property buildings (with the exception of restroom facilities) will be closed.  Admission fees will be voluntary at self-registration stations or electronic kiosks. All DNR campsites will be closed through April 30th. State Park and Trail visitors are reminded to practice proper personal hygiene and limit group sizes to under 10 people to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Visit https://dnr.wi.gov/news/releases/article/?id=5067  for more information. 

Wisconsin Elections Commission

Visit https://elections.wi.gov/covid-19 for more information on: 

  • Information on early voting
  • Guidance for polling places

Public Service Commission (PSC)

Visit https://psc.wi.gov/Pages/Home.aspx for more information on: 

  • Emergency Internet Resources
  • Utility Service Help

Department of Financial Institutions (DFI)

Visit http://www.wdfi.org/ for more information on:

  • Guidance for payday and licensed lenders

Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA)

Visit https://dva.wi.gov/Pages/newsMedia/COVID19.aspx for more information on:

  • Veterans benefits resource centers


Department of Corrections (DOC)

Click here for more information on:

  • Updates regarding correctional institutions

Contacting My Office

Team Sargent is here to help you! Please reach out to us with general inquiries, as well as any thoughts, questions, or concerns regarding legislative matters, at 608-266-0960 or via email at rep.sargent@legis.wi.gov

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