Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway's Remarks Today at Press Briefing with County Executive and Public Health Director
Monday, March 23, 2020 - 5:44pm
First I want to say that my deepest sympathies go out to the families in Wisconsin who have lost loved ones to this virus and I want to thank the Governor for taking further steps today to stress the seriousness of this situation.
Like so many other communities, the number of people with coronavirus in Dane County is going up. At present, there are 70 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dane County.
The City of Madison has been working around the clock since before the first Dane County case on February 5th to slow the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and protect our community. We are actively coordinating with school, county, state and federal agencies to respond to the latest information and developments.
What is the city doing?
We are in close contact with our hospitals. We are making sure that nurses and other health care professionals get to work on time on Metro buses and have a place to park if they are driving. We are working on child care options for essential workers including hospital workers.
We are working with the county and partner community organizations to reduce crowding in homeless shelters, and provide food and shelter for our homeless to make sure they are prepared and protected.
The majority of city offices are closed to walk-up business and are providing their services via phone, email and web, but we are innovating and delivering services in new says. We instituted curb side voting on Friday and you can request an absentee ballot online and engage in curbside voting through April 3. Our city clerk is processing an astounding 36,000 absentee ballots and we are trying to keep up.
Library and book drops are closed, and customers are urged to keep library materials until libraries reopen. The library's databases, online magazines and newspapers and downloadable audiobooks and eBooks collections are also accessible 24/7 and they are planning to institute a virtual online card so stay tuned.
I am incredibly grateful to the Madison Fire Department and the Madison Police Departments who have been working hard to prepare with COVID task forces and extensive planning.
The Madison Fire Department is rapidly adapting to changing needs, they have implemented many internal social distancing policies and created protocols so members are protected even though PPE is in short supply. We also urge people to not call 911 with questions about their health care. They should contact their health care provider directly.
Thanks to the dedicated Metro driver’s buses will continue running on Saturday service, so check your schedules. Trash will continue to be picked up and streets will continued to be cleaned!
As we await state and federal support, we're partnering closely with the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) and other economic development partners to provide regular communication about COVID-19 updates, best practices for business to stay afloat during these difficult times, and a wide range of resources available to the business community.
We are working with restaurants around the city to provide space for curbside pick-up so restaurants can keep cooking in these difficult times.
Here at the city --we have created a new flexible sick leave policy for our workers and we encourage all businesses to do the same.
We are having a finance committee meeting today we are going electronic for the first time we will see how it goes, non -essential committee meetings will be postponed and we ask for patience as we work through this with IT and develop the ability to support all committee meetings.
And don’t forget that the 2020 Census is here. As we practice social distancing, please take the opportunity to complete the census, now, from the comfort of your home! Very important all Madisonians are counted.
It is very important for people to understand that grocery stores are open today and they will be open tomorrow and the next day and the next. There is no reason to hoard. Stores are working hard to hire new hundreds of new employees including restaurant worker and create pick-up and delivery services.
If you use food pantries, the pantries have food, but most pantries have moved away from client choice model to a prepackaged boxed pick up model. Donations are really important, our food pantries need cash and they need it now, so give generously to local food banks and food pantries.
We encourage you to stay up-to-date on this issue by following Public Health on Twitter @PublicHealthMDC and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/publichealthmdc .
- Katie Crawley, 608-335-7071