Green Bay City Council gets update on efforts to combat COVID-19

GREEN BAY , Wis. (WBAY) -- The Green Bay City Council received an update from several departments on what's being done to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fire Chief David Litton gave an update saying his department is in a much better position with personal protective gear and has gotten two shipments from the federal stockpile.

Two weeks ago Chief Litton informed the council they were in dire need of protective gear. He also told the council 14 employees were on quarantine due to either having symptoms, or coming in contact with someone known to have the virus. Now, only two employees are quarantined and should be back to work by the end of this week.

Chief Litton says so far, 45 patients who have had symptoms of the virus have been transported via ambulance to the hospital.

"The surge models are that are being used are showing that the greatest impact of this are going to happen in about a week and half to two weeks. It's impossible to predict, but that's what the models are saying at this point," said Chief Litton via video conference to the meeting.

The state is supplying hand sanitizer to polling places, but not personal protective gear.

Mayor Eric Genrich is continuing to encourage people to vote absentee, but says there are 7,000 requests for ballots that have yet to get to voters.

Absentee ballots must be post marked by April 7 to be counted.

Green Bay voters can drop off their completed absentee ballot in the drop box outside city hall.

Police Chief Andrew Smith says he's fielding a number of calls and emails from other police chiefs across the state about non-essential businesses remaining open during this time.

Chief Smith says they have been looking to the city attorney's office for guidance and interpretation of the order.

"We're going to have to take it on a case by case basis. It's really frustrating for our guys when it comes to say, a head shop that also sells potato chips and other stuff here. The guy is arguing he should be allowed to maintain his business," said Chief Smith. "We're getting information that head shops don't really qualify, so it's very frustrating for us."

On Wednesday the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act went into effect.

Under the act, employees who are unable to work or telecommute due to quarantine related to COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, are caring for a loved one subject to the order, or is caring for a child due to the child care center being closed is eligible for benefits.

Emergency reponders are exempt, but the city has created a paid sick leave bank.

The employee has to be advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of the virus.

Emergency responders are also eligible for up to four weeks or of leave due to having to take care of a minor child, due to the child're school or childcare center being closed.

To view the full policy click here.