COVID-19 UPDATES FOR COUNTY OFFICIALS

As issues continue to develop and change at a quick rate with COVID-19, the Coronavirus, we at the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) are working alongside Governor Tony Evers, the Administration, the National Association of Counties (NACo) and our general counsel, von Briesen & Roper, s.c., (von Briesen) to provide the latest resources and updates to assist county officials during this unprecedented time.

COVID-19 Daily Update: 4.13.2020

April 15, 2020

COVID-19 DAILY HEALTH UPDATE
(Information from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) current as of 1:00 p.m. Central, Monday, April 13, 2020)

Total people with negative results: 36,769 (+853)
Total people with positive results: 3,428 (+87)
Hospitalizations: 993 (+19) or 29%
Total deaths: 154 (+10)

Q & A FOR COUNTIES NOTIFYING FIRST RESPONDERS OF POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST RESULTS
Wisconsin counties have voiced concerns regarding the extent to which a county may notify first responders responding to emergency calls that COVID-19 positive individuals may be present on scene based upon information known to county health officials. State and federal privacy laws restrict the ability of covered entities to release protected health information, but, subject to some limitations, an exception is made for the release of health information as necessary to avert a serious and imminent threat (see 45 C.F.R. 164.512(j)).  

The Wisconsin Counties Association and its general counsel, von Briesen & Roper, s.c., have received many questions regarding a county’s ability to release information to first responders where COVID-19 positive individuals may be present on the scene and, more specifically, how to make such a disclosure in a compliant manner. Our general counsel has prepared the Q & A below to provide additional information related to these disclosures. This information should be reviewed carefully with corporation counsel to ensure county compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

UPDATED Q AND A: THE COUNTY BOARD ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING Q & A ON CONDUCTING THE MEETING IN THE “NEW” ENVIRONMENT
On Friday, April 10, WCA released a legal update from WCA General Counsel von Briesen & Roper, s.c. on the county board organizational meeting and conducting the meeting in the “new environment.” Note that today an updated document was released, with additions made in the “Oath of Office” section.

WISCONSIN STATE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY PLAN TO MEET IN EXTRAORDINARY SESSION TOMORROW TO DEAL WITH COVID-19 LEGISLATION
The Legislature is slated to meet this week in Extraordinary Session to deal with legislation addressing COVID-19. The Wisconsin State Assembly is planning to meet tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14, 2020. The calendar has yet to be finalized for the Wisconsin State Senate. Stay tuned to the WCA Daily COVID-19 Update tomorrow for the latest happenings.

U.S. TREASURY RELEASES ELIGIBILITY GUIDANCE FOR CARES ACT FUNDING TO STATE, LOCAL AND TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS
Today, April 13, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released eligibility guidance for CARES Act funding to State, Local, and Tribal Governments. Below, please find additional information. Note that additional guidance on eligible uses of Fund disbursements by governments will be posted as it becomes available. Through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, the CARES Act provides for payments to State, Local, and Tribal governments navigating the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The CARES Act established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund. Treasury will make payments from the Fund to States and eligible units of local government; the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories (the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands); and Tribal governments (collectively “governments”).