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: 4.16.2020

April 16, 2020

COVID-19 DAILY HEALTH UPDATE
(Information from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) current as of 1:00 p.m. Central, Thursday, April 16, 2020)
Total people with negative results: 40,974 (+1,648)
Total people with positive results: 3,875 (+154)
Hospitalizations: 1,121 (+30) or 29%
Total deaths: 197 (+15)

GOVERNOR EVERS DIRECTS DHS TO EXTEND WISCONSIN’S SAFER AT HOME ORDER
Governor Tony Evers today directed Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to extend the Safer at Home order from April 24, 2020 to 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued. The order implements some new measures to ensure safety and support the progress we’ve made in containing COVID-19, but also allows certain activities to start up again.

LEGAL UPDATE ISSUED: EXTENSION OF WISCONSIN’S SAFER AT HOME ORDER
WCA General Counsel von Briesen & Roper, s.c. has issued a legal update, “Extension of Wisconsin’s Safer at Home Order.”

2019 WISCONSIN ACT 185 Q&A ON EMPLOYING WRS ANNUITANTS DURING THE PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
On April 15, 2020, Governor Evers signed 2019 Wisconsin Act 185 (“Act 185”) into law. Act 185 becomes effective on April 17, 2020. Act 185 provides a number of relief measures addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One relief measure particularly important to counties relates to the ability to employ Wisconsin Retirement System (“WRS”) annuitants during the ongoing public health emergency to fill immediate needs and also to utilize their experience and expertise. Act 185 eases the restrictions typically applicable to the employment of WRS annuitants by WRS participating employers. Importantly, Act 185 provides that an annuitant who is hired during the public health emergency may elect to not suspend his or her annuity for the duration of the declared public health emergency if the position for which the annuitant is hired is a “critical position.” Further, Act 185 reduces the wait time typically required for an annuitant to be reemployed by a WRS covered employer.  

The Wisconsin Counties Association and its general counsel, von Briesen & Roper, s.c., have received many questions surrounding these changes to the employment status of WRS annuitants. Our general counsel has prepared the Q & A below to provide information related to this aspect of Act 185 based upon the questions received.  

This information should be reviewed carefully with corporation counsel to ensure county compliance with other applicable laws and regulations, including its own policies and procedures.

NACo: INTERACTIVE MAP OF CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN U.S. COUNTIES
In this animated map from the National Association of Counties, see the spread of COVID-19 across the U.S. since March 1, 2020.

LEGAL UPDATE: COVID-19 & CYBERSECURITY-MAINTAINING VIGILANCE DURING THE PANDEMIC
For many businesses throughout Wisconsin, employees have been working remotely for weeks and IT Departments have been working long hours to ensure that employees can continue to work remotely, with minimal disruption and with secure connections. Many people are dealing with issues while working at home by constantly toggling back and forth between work and the real-time updates about the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on what they can and cannot do for the foreseeable future. In short, people may not be thinking of best cybersecurity practices and hygiene. They should be. If not, this difficult work environment may become even more challenging and the ability to work remotely could be severely compromised, as well as the security of the sensitive information networks maintain.

FEMA ADVISORY: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC WHOLE-OF-AMERICA RESPONSE
Attached you will find today’s FEMA Daily Briefing Points for the Whole-of-America response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These briefing points include Topline Messages, as well as Supply Chain Task Force; By the Numbers; FEMA and Department of Health and Human Services Response; and Guidance from Federal Agencies.