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COVID-19 Resources and Information
Below you will find resources to help you navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, such as official announcements, information on the disease and pandemic from credible sources, tips for managing personal and business finances during this time, and more.
COVID-19 Saliva At-Home Collection Kit
The State of Wisconsin and Vault Medical Services have teamed up to offer a new COVID-19 testing option for everyone who lives in Wisconsin, with or without symptoms, at no cost. This new service allows people to collect their own saliva samples for testing in their home. COVID-19 saliva at-home collection kits are one of the many options available for COVID-19 testing throughout Wisconsin. Call your healthcare provider, or visit a community testing site if you need to be tested more quickly for COVID-19.
3 Step Collection Process:
Step one: Request an at-home collection kit
Step two: Collect your sample (over virtual Zoom call in the presence of a licensed health care professional)
Step three: Send in your sample (drop off your collection kit at a UPS drop-off location)
Learn more about COVID-19 Saliva At-Home Collection Kit:
- Printable Flyer
- FAQs about At-Home Collection Kit
- Additional Information and FAQs about this resource are available here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/collection.htm
New Community Testing Site to Open in Ellsworth (Press Release – October 15, 2020)
Pierce County welcomes a new COVID-19 community testing site thanks to the support of Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services (PPCS) and the Wisconsin Army National Guard. Starting Monday October 19th, PPCS will provide heated drive-thru garage space for weekly COVID-19 testing. PPCS is located at the corner or Highway 10 and Highway 63 in Ellsworth. Tests will be administered by the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
AZ Snyder, Health Office/Public Health Director states, “Having easy access to testing in rural communities can be challenging, but thanks to our partners who made this site possible, many more families and individuals will not have to travel as far for testing this fall.”
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or who has been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus is eligible for testing. Please note the following:
Testing at this site will be available on Mondays, from 10AM to 6PM, from October 19th through December 7th.
- All testing is drive-up without appointments. Pre-registration on the day of your test is recommended to speed up the testing process: https://register.covidconnect.wi.gov/
- Please enter the testing site on Highway 63.
- The test is for any Wisconsin resident who has symptoms or is a close contact of someone who has tested positive.
- The test is free and no insurance is needed.
- Parents/guardians must be present to consent for testing minors aged 5 to 17.
Additional free testing sites are available in the region. These sites can be found on the WI DHS website: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/community-testing.htm
For more information about symptoms and testing, visit the Pierce County COVID-19 Hub: https://covid-piercecounty-wi.hub.arcgis.com/.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, COVID-19 is the disease caused by a virus strain that began spreading in people in December 2019.
Health experts are concerned because little is known about this new respiratory virus, and it can cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people.
- The COVID-19 virus was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
- The COVID-19 virus is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
- According to this peer-reviewed study (meaning the results have been reviewed by other experts in the field), the virus can live on cardboard for only a few hours, but on plastic for up to 72 hours. More information is sure to come, but these surfaces are most common on library materials.
How can I protect myself and my family?
The best way to prevent COVID-19 or any illness is to avoid being exposed to it. Currently there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. However, the following everyday preventive actions can protect you and others.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you feel sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with a regular household cleaning product.
- Follow the advice of your healthcare providers and national, state, and local public health.
National and local authorities have the most up-to-date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in our area. They are the best sources to advise you on what you should be doing to protect yourself.
How can we protect our community?
The main precautions to prevent the spread of COVID 19 are social distancing, quarantine, and individual isolation. Experts recommend, based on a CDC study on Influenza, that best way to slow the spread of the disease, or “flatten the curve” is to practice social distancing, avoiding other people and opportunities to share germs.
What else do we know about COVID-19? There is still a lot unknown about the pandemic, but we will keep you up to date as best we are able. Below are a few “go-to” websites and some peer-reviewed studies. As you do your own research, please remember to practice critical thinking and carefully examine the source of the information and any motives that may be behind the information being shared.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers declared a state of emergency on March 12, and has issued several emergency orders since then. You can view all of the orders on the governor’s website, and sign up to receive email alerts for new updates here
Employment, Finances, Mental Health
Unfortunately, there is more we all need to be concerned about than just our physical health through this crisis. Below are a few resources for those whose employment, finances, and mental health have been impacted.
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for all of your financial related questions (unemployment, retirement withdrawals, emergency paid sick leave, and way more), then head over to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension Financial Education website for COVID-19-related financial questions.
- The Wisconsin Workforce Development website has answers to Frequently Asked Questions about unemployment benefits available for COVID-19-related loss of income.
- Worried about student loans? In addition to interest being waived, you may also be eligible to defer payments for up to two months. See the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website for more information.
- This guide to Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health was created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, specifically in response to COVID-19 outbreak.
- From the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Facebook page: If all the talk about #COVID19 is making you feel overwhelmed or frightened, support is available. Call @distressline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. You are not alone.
Working From Home Resources
Remote Working: Setting Yourself and Your Teams Up for Success is a playlist of courses design to help people work remotely. These free LinkedIn Learning courses in all languages are designed to help agencies and their employees remain engaged and productive while working remotely.