Letter to the Editor:

I write to you at a difficult and unprecedented time, when there are more questions than answers about the COVID-19 threat. We’ve taken steps in the last few days to combat this public health crisis and I want to share them with you today.

The Evers administration is working around the clock to mitigate the spread of the virus, and we’re leveraging all available resources to get it done.

Last week, the governor took action to help protect our communities and keep Wisconsinites safe. Under his newly-issued Safer At Home order, we are still able to:

— Perform tasks essential to maintaining health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor;

— Get necessary services or supplies for ourselves or our families or household members, such as food and supplies, pet food, and supplies necessary for staying at home;

— Care for a family member in another household and for older adults, minors, dependents, people with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons; and

— Go on walks to get out of the house and exercise.

Additionally, the administration has:

— Issued an emergency order suspending utility disconnections, ceasing late fees, and removing any administrative barriers for customers establishing or re-establishing utility service;

— Directed the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to suspend administrative rules and grant schools flexibility during the public health emergency;

— Requested FEMA assistance in obtaining crucial protective medical supplies for first responders; and

— Won approval from the U.S. Small Business Administration for low-interest federal disaster loan access for small businesses affected by COVID-19.

While we’re confident that these policy decisions will help us in this crisis, what’s also clear is the role each of us must play to stop the spread of COVID-19.

To avoid exposure, keep our communities safe, and reduce the strain on our hospital system, here are some additional precautions you can take:

— Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water;

— Cover coughs and sneezes;

— Avoid touching your face;

— Stay home as much as possible (cancel events and avoid groups); and 

— Limit your in-person circle.

Here is a list of links that you can visit to stay up-to-date with the rapidly evolving situation: Department of Health Services at dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19 or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019.

As Wisconsin enters our third week of practicing social distancing, try to think of this as a time to reconnect spiritually, religiously, and even with your health. Because together, we are going to come out of this stronger than we went into it. 

Thank you for doing your part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and for continuing to do what’s best for our communities. 

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes

State of Wisconsin