Staying Safe and Finding Resources
Staying Safer at Home
What should my family be doing?
See our recommendations and guidance page for more information.
How can I stay safe ordering or buying food?
See our section on safely ordering and buying food.
Should I be wearing a cloth face covering when I am out getting necessities?
- Yes, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Here's how to make one or you can buy one at local stores or online.
- These coverings help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
- Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
I'm an older adult or I have a chronic health condition. What should I be doing?
You are considered high-risk because with this virus, most people who become severely sick are older adults and people with chronic health conditions. Stay home as much as possible, and follow the advice under "What should my family be doing?". Visit the CDC's website for specific information about how to stay safe.
I perform an essential service, such as childcare, healthcare, or law enforcement. What am I supposed to be doing?
Because we have community spread of COVID-19 in Dane County, essential service personnel should assume that they have come in contact with someone with COVID-19 or will at some point. With community spread and limited testing, our guidance is the same whether someone has a confirmed COVID-19 test or not. Read our fact sheet to learn more about what to do.
I'm in a group setting, such as a domestic violence shelter, homeless shelter, or correctional facility. How can I stay safe?
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has a fact sheet with recommendations for people who are in group settings.
Can I still use ibuprofen?
Yes. The FDA posted guidance on 3/19/20 which states: “At this time, FDA is not aware of scientific evidence connecting the use of NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, with worsening COVID-19 symptoms.” If you have specific medical issues, talk to your doctor about which over-the-counter medication will work best given your situation.
How should I be cleaning and disinfecting?
See the CDC’s website for more information on cleaning and disinfecting your home.
What do I need to know about coronavirus and my pet?
- At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. A small number of pets have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after contact with people with COVID-19. We need to learn more about how this virus affects animals. Until then, treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from getting sick.
- See the Wisconsin Department of Health Services' fact sheets for more information:
- See the CDC’s website for more information.
Where can I get help to pay rent, get food, or meet other basic needs?
- For any community resource needs you have due to COVID-19, connect with 211, a free service through United Way. Visit them online, text your zip code to 898211, or simply call 211. Depending on call volume, accessing 211 online may be faster.
- Our Food Access Resources fact sheet has information about how to get food. The Madison Metropolitan School District has many resources listed for families with children who attend school in their district, including free internet and daily free meals.
- Call the Aging and Disability Resource Center for specific resources for older adults or people with disabilities.
Covering Wisconsin offers free enrollment assistance for BadgerCare and the federal Marketplace (Obamacare). Navigators also assist consumers with appeals, bills, and other issues relating to their healthcare coverage. Call them at (608) 261-1455 or (414) 270-4677 for free, expert help.
- See their page on COVID-19 related health insurance questions.
- Read more about enrolling for health insurance if you lost your job.
I have other needs. Where can I get help?
Our teams have compiled resources for the following:
I have questions about tenant-landlord law, the Dane County eviction court process, or other tenant-landlord relations. Who can I contact?
The Tenant Resource Center is still answering calls (608-257-0006) and providing services. This is a call back service so you will need to leave a message and a number for them to call back.
I am a violence survivor and am worried about increased isolation and danger. Who can I contact?
People who are surviving violence in their relationships and families may be experiencing increased isolation and danger due to COVID-19. Find resources and contact information on our domestic violence resource page.
My workplace or business must remain open. How can I help protect people?
- The CDC has guidance for businesses and employers on their website. Review this guidance and enact it in your workspaces.
- We created a social distancing sign for workplaces and businesses. We encourage you to print it out and hang it up in your spaces.
- Visit our Business Owners and Operators page for more best practices and guidance.
I'm an administrator and need PPE (personal protective equipment). Where can I get it?
Visit the Dane County Emergency Management website for additional information and forms needed to request PPE.
Are there veterinary clinics still open?
Yes. Local veterinarians compiled this list of clinics still open. The list may not be exhaustive and is subject to change. Call ahead to confirm hours.
How can I stay safe while grocery shopping?
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has a great fact sheet about grocery shopping with tips about social distancing and wiping your cart. Don't forget to wash or cook your produce before eating!
What precautions should I take when eating take-out or delivery?
When picking up a take-out order or accepting a delivery, there are precautions you can take prior to eating your food to minimize your risk to COVID-19. Remove your food from the packaging and containers, place in dishes to eat, throw packaging away, and wash your hands before consuming.
Can I get COVID-19 through food?
Food or food packaging have not been identified as likely sources of COVID-19 infection at this time. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices (wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods. See the FDA’s website for more information.
How can I support local businesses?
See our section on supporting local businesses on the How to Help page.
What are restaurants and food retailers in Dane County doing to make sure our food is safe?
- Our food facilities (manufacturers, distributors, retailers and restaurants) are licensed, certified, follow good manufacturing and retail practices, and apply risk control plans for food safety. These facilities are subject to a regulatory pre-inspection process prior to being approved to operate, and receive annual routine inspections for assuring safe food practices are being followed. Even during this COVID-19 pandemic, our regulatory staff are continuing to provide services via phone, and onsite when social distancing can be maintained.
- Some people in our community may be afraid of getting food from restaurants. We want to show some of the ways food establishments are taking precautions so not only can you feel safer supporting your favorite restaurants, but you as a consumer can see what is being done to minimize the spread of COVID-19:
- Little Caesars has installed no touch warmers to hold pizzas until customers can pick up. They also have been posting signs reminding others to maintain social distancing, only allowing up to 7 people in the store at a time, and when delivering, they are leaving food outside doors so there is no face to face contact.
- Willy Street Co-op has put limits on the number of patrons that can be in their store at any one time and have special store hours for seniors and those with compromised immune systems. They also are posting signs up around their store to remind customers to practice social distancing and no longer are allowing reusuable bags.
- Badger Prairie Needs Network (non-profit) has implemented a drive through service at the food pantry, clients are asked to come alone to keep other family members safe at home, volunteers load groceries into the trunks of vehicles and staff has been trimmed to essential numbers, they are practicing heightened hand washing, and wearing masks and clothes that are washed after every shift. They shared pictures with us of their staff in action.
Metcalfe’s Hilldale has placed hand sanitizer stations outside and throughout the store for employees and customers alike. Plexi-shields have been installed between shoppers and cashiers. Their self- service areas have been repurposed to accommodate pre-packaged items. Additional signage has been added to instruct shoppers not to bring reusable bags into the store, store capacity has been limited, “one person one cart” rules are in effect, traffic is one way down aisles, and reminders about social distancing are throughout the store. They now have designated cart sanitizing areas where cleaning is performed throughout the day. They shared pictures with us of the changes they've made in the store.
Glass Nickel employees have been monitoring their temperatures at home since mid-March and there is a temple thermometer available for employees that do not have one at home. Employees must notify Glass Nickel of any travel or possible exposure so an assessment can be made on when the employee can return to work. They are employing no contact for delivery and curbside carry out. Customers opting for pickup call when they arrive, are told to leave trunk or back seat door open, employee places food in vehicle. When employee leaves, the customer closes trunk or door. For walk up/bike orders they have tables set outside and ask the customer to stand at a distance, they set the food down and leave so customer can grab the food. Customer food deliveries are dropped at a main entrance, employee calls ahead, sets food down, and customer is instructed not to open the door until the delivery driver leaves. All transactions are paid with card over the phone, no cash to avoid face to face contact. They shared pictures with us of their staff in action.