Announcements/resources listed by Polk County health Department:
Due to the COVID19 event, to best serve you, we strongly recommend calling ahead before you come to our offices. Polk County is still conducting business. If you are not feeling well, please stay home.
Gov. Evers Extends Safer at Home Order through May 26th.
Gov. Evers Directed DHS to Mandate closure of all K-12 Public and Private schools to start on March 18th after 5pm
View the closure order click HERE
Gov. Evers Declares Public Health Emergency Due to COVID-19
View the full press release HERE
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) has published Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs for homeowners, renters, housing providers in response to COVID-19 Find it HERE
Contact the Health Department: Call at 715-485-9258 or Email us at [email protected]
WI Department of Health Services (DHS) has issued an order prohibiting mass gathering of 10 people or more.
Read the full order below.
Restaurant, Bar, Salon, Tattoo Parlor? Find the latest information, recommendations, and guidance on the Environmental Health Page or read the FAQ's below:
Stay Up to date on the latest infomation from Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP): Click HERE to visit the DATCP site
Dentist or Work in a Dental Office? Find the latest information, recommendations, and guidance
Read below for more information
Economic Support Information
The Polk County Economic Development Corporation (PCEDC) is working diligently along with local business leaders and governmental officials to be able to offer economic support resources during these difficult times. The contacts in the document below have resources to assist both individuals and business owners.
DHS has released a Message Map for the Faith Community on Nurturing Spiritual Health During the Safer at Home Order.
Read the full document below.
DHS has Mandated the Restriction of Child Care Settings March 18th after 5pm
Read the full order below.
Animal Shelters and COVID-19
In video statements recorded this morning, health professionals explain why the the Governor’s Safer at Home order is an essential measure for containing COVID-19, creating conditions to gradually and safely reopen the economy
Statewide: This morning before scheduled State Capitol protests against Wisconsin’s most effective COVID-19 containment measure, public health professionals taped brief video interviews to discuss the situation. These dedicated caregivers hope by offering this testimony to counteract the disinformation being spread through social media and irresponsible national media outlets to mobilize opposition to social distancing. The health professionals explained why maintaining social distancing is essential for saving lives, protecting front line caregivers and other essential workers, and slowing the virus enough to safely reopen the economy.
Elizabeth Riley: Elizabeth is a nurse who recently returned to Wisconsin after spending several weeks working in a Brooklyn, NYC Intensive Care Unit. She describes the horror of the ICU, the horrible and lonely deaths of her patients, and her dread that Wisconsin could become like New York City if the Safer At Home order were lifted. https://youtu.be/JWa55RJtvBU
Jeff Weber: Jeff is the President of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. He worries about Wisconsin hospitals’ capacity being overrun with a surge of COVID-19 cases resulting from these protests and premature lifting of the Safer At Home order. He states we need two weeks of sustained decline in new cases before lifting the order. https://youtu.be/dogIXdYMIe8
Lynn Carey: Lynn is a nurse practitioner, educator, and PhD as well as a double lung transplant recipient. Her advice for beating this virus: "stay home!” https://youtu.be/rKsyDBi8uU4
Victoria Gutierrez: Victoria is a frontline nurse in Madison. She is concerned that the capitol protest will cause an increase in COVID-19 cases and put strain on the already short supply of personal protective gear used by nurses. https://youtu.be/93sxJ5vxfOA
Mary Milton: Mary is a frontline nurse in Milwaukee. She monitors the protective gear used by her hospital’s workers. She says she has "never seen such suffering” as that of her COVID-19 patients. https://youtu.be/QXDgiTlHOFs
Emily Siegrist: Emily is a nurse and nurse educator from the Milwaukee area. She is worried about the lack of support for frontline health care professionals and that protesters today will not take protective measures. https://youtu.be/Oy9S_E0kRDQ
"Front line health professionals, many of whom are risking their own health treating the victims of COVID-19, are urging the people of Wisconsin to maintain social distancing as the best way to contain this deadly pandemic,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. "If we are going to pull together and meet this challenge, we need to start listening to the scientists and the front-line caregivers, not the cynical politicians and billionaires seeking to exploit the crisis for their own purposes.”
On April 17, Trump sent three tweets in all caps that called on people to "LIBERATE" Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia, three states with Democratic governors who had issued stay-at-home orders.
The committee did enter a closed session to discuss and consider a letter they received regarding a local tourist rooming house, and apparent possible legal action, although details were not available and no action was taken when they returned to open session.
Changes allow for more business, activities to open
WISCONSIN – With the extension of
the Safer At Home order through May 26, it includes a some changes to allow for
more businesses and activities to open back up, while other changes help
make businesses safer for employees and customers. The changes in this new
order go into effect on Friday, April 24.
Businesses and activities ramping up service and operations:
- Public libraries: Public libraries may provide curb-side pick-up of books and other library materials.
- Golf Courses:Golf courses may open again, with restrictions including scheduling and paying for tee times online or by phone only. Clubhouses and pro shops must remain closed.
- Non-essential Businesses: Non-essential businesses will now be able to do more things as Minimum Basic Operations, including deliveries, mailings, and curb-side pick-up. Non-essential businesses must notify workers of whether they are necessary for the Minimum Basic Operations.
- Arts and Crafts Stores: Arts and craft stores may offer expanded curb-side pick-up of materials necessary to make face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Aesthetic or Optional Exterior Work: Aesthetic or optional exterior law care or construction is now allowed under the extended order, so long as it can be done by one person.
Safe Business Practices:
- Safe Business Practices for Essential Businesses and Operations: Essential Businesses and Operations must increase cleaning and disinfection practices, ensure that only necessary workers are present, and adopt policies to prevent workers exposed to COVID-19 or symptomatic workers from coming to work.
- Safe Business Practices for Retailers that Essential Businesses and Operations: Retail stores that remain open to the public as Essential Businesses and Operations must limit the number of people in the store at one time, must provide proper spacing for people waiting to enter, and large stores must offer at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations.
- SupplyChain: Essential Businesses and Operations that are essential because they supply, manufacture, or distribute goods and services to other Essential Businesses and Operations can only continue operations that are necessary to those businesses they supply. All other operations must continue as Minimum Basic Operations.
Other changes include:
- Schools: Public and private K-12 schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
- Local parks and open space: Local health officials may close public parks and open spaces if it becomes too difficult to ensure social distancing or the areas are being mistreated.
- Travel: People are strongly encourage to stay close to home, not travel to second homes or cabins, and not to travel out-of-state if it is not necessary.
- Tribal Nations: Tribal Nations are sovereign over their territory and can impose their own restrictions. Non-tribal members should be respectful of and avoid non-essential travel to Tribal territory. Local government must coordinate, collaborate, and share information with Tribal Nations.
- Duration: The changes in this order go into effect on April 24, 2020. The order will remain in effect until 8 a.m. on May 26, 2020.
If you have questions, a Frequently Asked Questions document is available here for your review.
The public should continue to follow simple steps to avoid exposure to the virus and prevent illness including:
- Avoiding social gatherings with people of all ages (including play dates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house);
- Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water;
- Covering coughs and sneezes;
- Avoiding touching one's face; and
- Staying home.
This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we encourage you and the public to frequently monitor the DHS website.
Wisconsin counties are likely to see tax revenues decline and service demands increase during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, with particular challenges in regions that rely on commuters, visitors and tourists, according to a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum.
Counties are likely to face the greatest fiscal challenges among Wisconsin’s local governments. They are the only ones that receive significant sales tax revenues and, due to services they provide, are the most likely to see increased demand for services during the economic downturn brought about by the pandemic.
"As the impact from the coronavirus roils the economy here and around the world, Wisconsin’s counties lie in its path,” the report warns.
Wisconsin counties possess some advantages, particularly relative to their counterparts in other states. For example, their overall reliance on property taxes – which the Forum has found to be problematic in normal times – gives Wisconsin counties greater protection from the immediate steep drops in revenue that an economic downturn could bring to counties in other states that rely more heavily on sales and other taxes.
But county governments can still expect significant revenue challenges ahead. Sixty-eight of the state's 72 counties collect a 0.5% sales tax, which will see diminished revenues, and potentially stunning drops in some regions with significant visitors.
Other revenue challenges may include declines in collections from charges for services, and a likely rise in delinquent property tax payments. Meanwhile, as key providers of health and human services, counties are likely to see spending demands increase due to the health and economic ramifications of the crisis.
As we discuss in this and in our recent companion to this report, "The COVID Fiscal Fall-out for Cities and Villages” municipal and county reliance on property taxes could be advantageous for now. Property taxes comprise about 30%-60% of general revenues across Wisconsin’s 72 counties, with state aid the other top contributor. While property values are likely to fall, perhaps sharply, the loss in value must be quantified via updated property assessments and will take some time to determine -- with the impact being felt no sooner than for 2022 levies.
Another key advantage for counties, though not necessarily for taxpayers, is that if and when decreases in property values are reflected in assessments, county officials may offset any decline in overall values by raising property tax rates. However, while raising rates is legally permissible, county officials may deem it unfair to ask property owners to pay the same or higher property taxes as their property value declines. Or they may feel it is inappropriate to increase levies in light of the economic hardship experienced by many citizens.
Counties also could face near-term difficulties in collecting from property owners, and a sharp rise in unpaid property tax installments has the potential of creating immediate cash flow challenges for some counties.
Meanwhile, sales taxes generated 8.1% of the revenue total for Wisconsin counties in 2018. With the sharp decline or outright disappearance of sales in some sectors such as food and drink service, hospitality, and brick-and-mortar retail, these revenues are certain to decline markedly. And unlike some states, Wisconsin exempts groceries from sales taxes, making revenues here potentially more vulnerable. Initial projections by Wisconsin’s two largest counties, Milwaukee and Dane, indicate potential 2020 shortfalls in sales tax collections of $17 million and $25 million, respectively. The report concludes that counties are fortunate that revenue streams most vulnerable to severe disruption comprise relatively small portions of their overall revenues. But other factors, such as the likelihood of increasing needs for some county services, will create fiscal stress.
"That would pose a difficult dilemma even in a time of steady revenues," the report concludes, "thus making even modest crisis-induced revenue declines a formidable challenge for counties as they navigate the uncertain times ahead.”
Go here to read "The Covid-19 Fiscal Fall-Out for Counties.”
The Wisconsin Policy Forum is the state’s leading source of nonpartisan, independent research on state and local public policy. As a nonprofit, our research is supported by members including hundreds of corporations, nonprofits, local governments, school districts, and individuals. Visit wispolicyforum.org to learn more.
Public libraries can provide curbside pickup of books.
Golf courses can open with more spread out tee times.
Non-essential businesses will be allowed to do deliveries, mailings and curbside pick-up.
Arts and crafts stores can do curb-side pick-up for materials used to make masks.
Aesthetic lawn care or construction is allowed as long as it’s done by one person.
The new order also mandates essential retail stores limit the number of people present in the store at one time, provide proper social-distance spacing for those waiting to enter; and provide at least two hours of shopping per week for vulnerable populations.
At the Thursday press conference, Evers said Wisconsin has joined a partnership with other Midwestern governors who will coordinate on ways to reopen the economy in the Midwest region.
The administration’s order comes as the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise. As of Thursday afternoon, there were 3,875 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide and 197 deaths, according to DHS.
Benefits will be available April 12 and April 26
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced that more than 215,000 FoodShare households will be receiving additional benefits. These benefits will help those Wisconsin families stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The effects of the pandemic have been hard on all Wisconsinites, but especially hard on the most vulnerable people in our state," said Andrea Palm, Secretary-designee of the Department of Health Services. "The ability for eligible households to access additional FoodShare benefits during this public health emergency provides an important lifeline to one of our most basic human needs."
Under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Wisconsin is able to provide FoodShare recipients with the maximum monthly benefit amount, based on the number of people in their household, for two months.
As a result, for March and April, FoodShare households not currently receiving the maximum monthly benefit amount for their family size will receive additional benefits bringing them up to that level. The additional March benefits will be available on QUEST cards on April 12, and the additional April benefits will be available on QUEST cards on April 26. If the COVID-19 emergency extends beyond April, DHS will work with its federal partners on any future opportunities to provide additional emergency allotments.
Households will receive a letter notifying them of the additional benefits. Households already receiving the maximum amount will not receive additional benefits. The following is the maximum monthly benefit amount based on the number of people in the household:
Shifting norms, limited evidence
Concerns over medical supplies persist
A personal decision
Mask demand spikes
Emphasizing proven strategiesWestergaard also emphasized that wearing a face mask must not be considered a stand in for physical distancing or proper hygiene etiquette.
• Eases licensing requirements for health care professionals and emergency medical responders.
• Allows pharmacists to extend prescriptions.
• Expands SeniorCare to include coverage of vaccinations.
• Ensures no co-pays for COVID-19 testing.
• Prohibits health insurance coverage discrimination based on COVID-19.
• Provides the needed flexibilities to school districts to complete the school year online.
Extensions for filing returns
• Income/franchise and pass-through withholding returns due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020 are extended to July 15, 2020.
Extensions for return payments
• Income/franchise and pass-through withholding tax due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, will not accrue interest or penalties until July 16, 2020.
Waiver of underpayment interest on estimated payments
• UPI will not apply to income/franchise and pass-through withholding returns with a tax year ending on December 31, 2019, or returns that are due on or after April 1 and before July 15.
Extensions for estimated payments of income/franchise and pass-through withholding tax
• Estimated payments due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020 are extended to July 15. Note: First quarter estimated payments are generally due April 15 and second quarter estimated payments are generally due June 15.
Federal economic impact payments (stimulus payments)
Find the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Wisconsin: wisconsin.gov/covid19.
USDA’s COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide Lists Federal Programs That Can Help Rural Communities, Organizations and Residents Impacted by COVID-19
WASHINGTON, April 13, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled a one-stop-shop of federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide (PDF, 349 KB) is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic.
"Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities preparing for and impacted by COVID-19,” Perdue said. "This resource guide will help our rural leaders, whether they are in agriculture, education, health care or any other leadership capacity, understand what federal assistance is available for their communities during this unprecedented time.”
USDA has taken many immediate actions to assist farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities, and rural-based businesses and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on these actions, visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus.
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced an application has been submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to begin the development of a second alternative care facility (ACF) in Wisconsin to prepare for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases. The Army Corp of Engineers has partnered with states to build ACFs to support existing, local medical infrastructures in response to the spread of COVID-19.
More information regarding the state-wide COVID-19 response is also available here.
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