Financial Resources to get through COVID-19
The University of Wisconsin-Extension has gathered a group of excellent resources for financial issues caused by COVID-19, including information about unemployment benefits, public assistance, loan deferments, utility payments, and much more. Click here for the UW-Extension Financial Resources list.
Apply for Unemployment online at dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/apply/ and download the Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance Handbook for Claimants. The State of Wisconsin also has a page of Unemployment COVID-19 Public Information.
As of March 21, 2020, the IRS has extended the filing and payment deadlines for personal and business taxes. “The filing deadline for tax returns has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can’t file by the July 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request an extension to file their return.” More information on the IRS website: www.irs.gov/newsroom/payment-deadline-extended-to-july-15-2020
The Small Business Association has information about Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources. “Small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).”
COVID-19 Medical information and services
Please do not call 911 for COVID-19 information. Local officials are urging people to not use 911 or their local sheriff’s non-emergency number for information calls, and to keep those lines open only for emergency calls. Here are some options available for information by phone, as shared by the Oneida County Sheriff’s office 3/27/2020:
- Call 211 for information and connection to services in your area. Wisconsin’s 211 is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Ascension Medical Center 833-981-0711, available 24 hours a day/7 day a week.
- Aspirus Health Care 844-568-0701, available 7am-8 pm Monday-Friday and 8am-5pm Saturday-Sunday.
The Iron County Health Department website includes state and local information releases about COVID-19.
The Marshfield Clinic-Mercer Center clinic and remote pharmacy is temporarily closed, along with other local centers in the Marshfield Clinic system. (See www.marshfieldclinic.org/patient-resources/covid-19-temporary-location-closings for more information from Marshfield Clinic.) Patients are asked to use the Minocqua Center, 715-358-1000.
The Mercer Library encourages you to use reliable sources of information from health professionals when making decisions for yourself and your family. Here are some recommended resources for COVID-19 information:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
- Wisconsin Department of Health Services – www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm
- Outbreaks in Wisconsin (listed updated by 2pm daily) – www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/outbreaks/index.htm
- World Health Organization – www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- Marshfield Clinic COVID-19 information and online screening tool – www.marshfieldclinic.org/specialties/infectious-diseases/coronavirus-update
Last updated: March 27, 2020
Avoiding COVID-19 misinformation and scams
As happens during any major event, misinformation has started spreading about the COVID-19 virus. Scammers are also starting to take advantage of the public’s anxiety over this issue. We encourage you to seek out reliable sources of information when making decisions about your health, finances, and other important issues during this worldwide crisis.
Please help avoid the spread of misinformation: fact-check BEFORE you share! Here are some useful fact-checking resources about COVID-19:
- FactCheck.org COVID-19: www.factcheck.org/issue/covid-19/ and www.factcheck.org/a-guide-to-our-coronavirus-coverage/
- Snopes.com Coronavirus Collection: www.snopes.com/collections/new-coronavirus-collection/
- Politifact Coronavirus fact-checks: www.politifact.com/coronavirus/
- Federal Trade Commission ‘s advice on avoiding Coronavirus Scams: ftc.gov/coronavirus
Explaining COVID-19 to your kids
- NPR has a comic explaining COVID-19 for kids. Download, print, and fold it into a zine you can share.
- The StorySeeds podcast has an episode by Jason Reynolds explaining the “New Bad Guy in Town” that gives kids and grownups eight tips for fighting germs and staying healthy. StorySeeds is geared towards kids aged 6-12.
- YA author Laurie Halse Anderson has a write-up on “Flattening the Curve” on her Facebook page
- The CDC has information about talking to your children about COVID-19
- The Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents (NECCA) has a well-written article on Making the most of COVID-19 closures
- KiwiCo has a parent toolkit that includes information on explaining social distancing, investigating the science of hand washing, how viruses spread, tips from teachers, and more.
Voting during COVID-19
Wisconsin elections are scheduled for April 7 and May 12, 2020. Election officials are strongly encouraging all voters to vote by mail whenever possible in order to protect poll workers and all members of the community.
Online voter registration for the April 7 election has been extended until March 30, 2020. Visit myvote.wi.gov/en-US/RegisterToVote to register online. To register online you will need to submit a photo of a current Wisconsin driver license or state ID card.
To request an absentee ballot, visit myvote.wi.gov/en-US/VoteAbsentee. You will need to be registered to vote, and if you haven’t requested an absentee ballot before you may also need to submit a photo of your ID.
There are some exceptions to the voter ID requirement, including for voters who are indefinitely confined due to illness, age, infirmary or disability. See myvote.wi.gov/en-us/PhotoIDRequired for more information on the voter ID requirement.
If you have questions or are unable to complete these tasks online, contact the Mercer town clerk at 715.476.2403 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.townofmercer.com for more information about local voting and about other town business.
Last updated: March 27, 2020
Misc. Changes due to COVID-19
COVID-19 is affecting the way our local governments and organizations are doing their work. Here’s a list of things you might want to know about, but which don’t fit neatly into any other categories:
- The Mercer Transfer site is open, but requests a change in procedures: “People must place their own garbage into the correct area and remain the safe distance of 6 feet away from the workers.” See the Town of Mercer’s website at www.townofmercer.com for information on this and other changes to town services.
- Wisconsin Burning permits are suspended until further notice. “All burning debris in barrels, piles on the ground and grass or wooded areas with annual burning permits in DNR protection areas is prohibited at this time.” See dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/permits.html for more information.