Being Calm and Prepared for COVID-19

Being Calm and Prepared for COVID-19

Do not hesitate to ask for help if you are feeling overwhelmed.


Call SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Each Disaster Distress Helpline Core Region Center has crisis counselors who are trained to listen and offer support to people in emotional crisis.

We need to work together to deal with this crisis. Take some time to think about how you and your friends and family are handling the challenges of this pandemic. During this time connect with loved ones by phone or video chat to support one another.

UW-Madison Division of Extension Vilas County has assembled this collection of resources below to help with the financial, physical, emotional, and social implications of the current health crisis. We are adding to them regularly as the situation evolves.

Child Care Options for Essential Workers

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families is assisting healthcare employees and other essential workers with COVID-19 Child Care Resources. Essential workers can submit a request for care at Emergency Request and view a map with up-to-date availability child care map.

Financial Resources

  • The Extension has an entire page dedicated to Financial Resources to Help Get Through COVID-19.  Clicking on the link will take you to those resources.
  • The UW-Madison Center for Community and Economic Development did a great summary of the COVID-19 Stimulus: CARES Section-by-Section (PDF, 35 pages).  A good way to know the basics without having to read all 800 pages.

For financial resources dealing with specific situations:



Small Businesses

Living with Vulnerable Populations

All of us know people who are most susceptible to the COVID-19 virus, many of us live with such people, and some of us are them.  There are many things we can do to help reduce the risk and keep safe.

  • Are you a Veteran? Vilas County Veterans Services has a webpage with resources for Veterans.

Being Homebound with Youth

Ways to keep the youth engaged and the family united.

Basic Needs

Everyone still needs food and the necessities of life.  These links will help you navigate the complexities of getting those necessities while still maintaining social distancing or being homebound.

Staying Healthy and Connected

Being physically isolated doesn’t mean we need to be socially isolated.  Being “Safer at Home” doesn’t mean that you can’t go outside.  Human contact and physical activity are necessary for our well-being.  There are ways to be connected and keep mentally and physically strong while maintaining the social distancing necessary for our health.

  • Human Connections Promote Overall Wellness (PDF, 1 page) – Ways to strengthen relationships and stay connected
  • Connection during social distancing is a podcast on how to stay connected when we need to be physically apart.  Mandi Dornfeld, Human Development and Relationships Educator, UW-Madison Division of Extension Winnebago County does a great job in guiding us through this complicated topic.

Being Mentally and Emotionally Resilient

  • 20 Second meditations (PDF, 1 page) – Perfect ways to achieve calm in the 20 seconds of washing your hands
  • Managing Fear and Anxiety (PDF, 2 pages) – How to recognize the many different reactions to the changing situation and ways to deal with them.
  • Share your experiences!  Journaling (writing down or otherwise recording your thoughts and experiences) has many mental health benefits and now you can be part of the historical record of this time.  The Wisconsin Historical Society is doing a COVID-19 Journal Project. Be a part of this project that is collecting history as it happens.


Staying Calm and Alleviating Fear

  • 20 Second meditations (PDF, 1 page) – Perfect ways to achieve calm in the 20 seconds of washing your hands
  • Managing Fear and Anxiety (PDF, 2 pages) – How to recognize the many different reactions to the changing situation and ways to deal with them.
  • Five Ways to View COVID News Coverage – the American Psychological Association has tips on how to keep informed without becoming overwhelmed.
  • Talking to your kids about COVID-19 – Children’s Wisconsin webpage with guidelines on talking to children about the pandemic
  • Get the facts: Children and COVID-19 – this section of the CDC webpage has all the facts you need to know on COVID-19 and children.
  • Managing anxiety and stress – this CDC webpage has information on handling stress in a variety of situations, including dealing with children, parents, first responders and if you were released from quarantine.
  • Mindfulness for Kids – This FREE interactive, online program will help teach ways to be calm, focused and in control in these uncertain times.  Offered by Mindful Schools.

Keeping Active

With summer on the way, we are all looking forward to enjoying the beautiful Wisconsin weather in the upcoming months. However, we have not experienced what that would be like with COVID-19 being a continued health threat to our community. Spending time outdoors is essential to the health and well-being of Vilas County residents. Most public campgrounds, parks, and trails will be open at some point for residents to enjoy. Physical distancing measures and proper hygiene are vital to stop COVID-19 from spreading in Vilas County.

Tips to Enjoy the Outdoors and Avoid the Spread of COVID-19



  • Visit parks close to your home.
  • Contact the business or check the website or mobile app so you know if campgrounds and parks are open as well as what services are available.
  • If you’re using shared equipment (such as between you and a family member, or at a park that rents kayaks or bikes, or business), wipe it down before and after use or talk to the business about their cleaning and disinfecting process between renters.
  • When camping only camp with members of your household.
  • Before you go to a park or campground, make sure you’ve packed water and snacks to avoid having to stop at the store.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after your activity and after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to use if soap and water are not available.
  • While running, walking, or biking, maintain a distance of at least six feet between yourself and others.
  • If you plan to go hiking, choose a less popular trail — one that isn’t used as often and where you avoid the possibility of running into crowds.
  • Leave the area if you cannot maintain 6 feet distance from others. ● Go straight home after your activity. The less time you spend away from your home, the less likely you are to spread COVID-19.
  • Be mindful about the surfaces you touch when you are out. For instance, use your elbow to touch crosswalk buttons instead of your hand.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations on use of cloth face masks and continue to use the strong defenses above.


  • Visit public areas if you are sick or were recently exposed to COVID-19.
  • Touch the cap of your water bottle with dirty hands. If you happen to do so, take the time to clean your water bottle.
  • Do not gather in groups.
  • Try not to use public restrooms and don’t touch your face once you’re out and about.
  • Use exercise as an excuse to ignore physical distancing standards.
  • Visit crowded parks.
  • Go to parks during peak times. Although many of our schedules look different right now, people may still congregate in parks during certain times.
  • Put yourself or other’s at risk by ignoring the advice of health professionals.

Viruses like COVID-19 need a host to live and quickly make copies of itself and then spread to the next person (host).


    • Using the State Parks
      Most Wisconsin State Park properties will be open to the public soon. Admission fees will be required and there will be various property conditions in place including new hours of operation. Properties may be limiting admission based on capacity. Please make sure to seek out current property information on our website before visiting. All restrooms, water fountains, buildings, observation towers, and playgrounds are also closed at all state parks and forests.
      For more information: Visit the Wisconsin DNR COVID-19 page and follow them on Facebook to keep up to date on all the outdoor opportunities that are still available.

Volunteering and Helping Organizations

    • Volunteer Wisconsin – Volunteer Wisconsin connects volunteers with organizations that need help and organization that need help with volunteers.
    • Staying Safe in Group Settings (pdf, 1 page) – Safety tips for group settings (homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, correctional facilities)

Financial Resources: Personal

  • General Information – The University of Wisconsin-Madison has resources that can help with handling the financial challenges that come with the COVID pandemic.  Start with an overview article on Managing Finances in Tough Times and, if you would like more in-depth information, visit their Tough Times resource page.
  • Unemployment Benefits – Please apply for unemployment benefits online as the Department of Workforce Development has been overrun with calls as businesses are forced to shut their doors. Applying online will allow more complex cases to be handle by phone.  For more details, please visit the DWD Unemployment FAQ.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will begin accepting applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program on April 21st. PUA provides unemployment insurance to self-employed individuals, independent contractors and other workers who may not be covered by traditional unemployment programs.
  • Eviction and Foreclosure Stay – Gov. Tony Evers issued Emergency Order #15, which temporarily bans foreclosures and evictions. The order is effective immediately and shall remain in place for 60 days.
  • FFCRA Employee Rights Poster (PDF, 1 page) explains how the Families First Coronavirus Response Act affects paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Broadband Resources – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has a listing of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that are offering free or low-cost internet access options during the COVID-19 health emergency.
  • Watch for COVID-19 scams!  Be aware that criminals are attempting to exploit COVID-19 worldwide through a variety of scams.  There have been reports of:
    • Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online and engaging in other forms of fraud.
    • Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    • Malicious websites and apps that appear to share virus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received.
    • Seeking donations fraudulently for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations.

If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, you can report it without leaving your home through several platforms. Go to:


Visit the US Department of Justice COVID 19 page for more information.

  • COVID-19: Consumer Protection – Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection COVID-19 page to help with a variety of consumer protection issues, including scams, rent/child support issues, and price gouging.
  • Avoid Coronavirus Scams – The Federal Trade Commission has the most current information on how to keep the scammers at bay.

Financial Resources: Farm/Agricultural

  • NOTE:  The resources in Personal and Small Business sections may also apply.  Be sure to check them out!
  • COVID-19 Resources  – Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center has a page dedicated to the virus. Scroll down to “Regional Resources” to find the section dedicated to Wisconsin.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Farms – Extension’s Farm Management page has up-to-date resources available to farms.
  • COVID-10 Toolkit (PDF, 3 pages)- The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection created this kit to serve as a resource for agricultural organizations as they prepare for potential impacts of COVID-19 on their business operations.  Note: This PDF is updated frequently.

Financial Resources: Small Business

  • UW-Madison Extension has a summary of financial assistance programs available to small businesses during the COVID-19 Health Crisis.
  • COVID-19 Business Resources – Resources available through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – Wisconsin businesses are eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans due to the impact of COVID.
    • EIDL Basics (PDF, 19 pages) – This PDF contains a Mach 17, 2020 PowerPoint that covers the basics of Economic Injury Disaster Loans and how they relate to COVID-19.
    • EIDL Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 6 pages) – Frequently asked questions on Economic Injury Disaster Loans
    • Documentation Requirements for Non-Profit Organizations, Churches, and Associations to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans
    • Economic Injury Disaster Loans application – Online
    • Economic Injury Disaster Loans online customer service
    • Want more help?  The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center’s COVID-19 page is a good place to start!


***This is a rapidly evolving situation. If you have questions or immediate needs related to COVID-19, call 211 or text COVID-19 to 211-211. If you are feeling overwhelmed by COVID-19 and need support, contact the SAMHSA Disaster Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. This hotline is at no cost and available 24/7.