Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Bad Bill Bails Bigs (again)/Gundersen Requests Assistance


Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have reached a tentative agreement on a third COVID-19 response package. The final package is a dramatic improvement from the original Republican bill, which was essentially a giant no-strings-attached corporate giveaway without any real support to workers and families affected by this crisis. 
Senate Democrats deserve a lot of credit for sticking together to make improvements to the bill, such as dramatically expanding unemployment insurance, and providing money to support our already-strained health care system. However, the bill still falls short of what people need in this moment of crisis, and the House should fight to improve it.
Your representative needs to hear from you so that they work to improve the third coronavirus response bill before voting on it. Specifically, you should ask your member of the House to:
  • Increase election security and access to voting, including financial support for states to implement vote by mail before November,
  • Add guardrails for the hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate bailouts in the bill (e.g. requiring that companies that get bailouts retain ALL of their employees and can’t waste money on executive bonuses or stock buybacks)
  • Provide universal paid sick leavenot just for some people — everyone, 
  • Improve the cash assistance provisions of the bill by making the payments recurring and available to all people, including immigrants, and
  • Support patients and health care workers by expanding federal Medicaid funding, ending surprise billing, and ensuring frontline workers have the protections they need to stay safe

More on making masks here.


Gundersen Health System is accepting donations for new and unused protection supplies. Because of the spread of COVID-19, health officials have warned that staff in busy hospitals may see a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Gundersen says it has adequate amounts of PPE, but the health system wants to prepare for a potential surge in patients.

Items requested include:

  • Face shields
  • Digital thermometers
  • Eye protection such as safety glasses and goggles
  • Hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Masks including both N95 and surgical masks (any level) *
  • Gloves
  • Gowns

To donate any of the above and help keep staff, patients and community as safe as possible, please contact Gundersen Medical Foundation at (608) 775-6600 or

*Note: Homemade masks are being accepted if they meet specific criteria. For directions and a pattern, please contact Gundersen Medical Foundation at (608) 775-6600 or

Mask specifications can be found here (scroll down for how-to video).

To align needs and supply of PPE, PLEASE call Gundersen Medical Foundation first. This will allow staff to track the number of masks being made and who is making them. 

Monetary donations for purchasing equipment and supporting medical research—such as the COVID-19 test our Microbiology Research Lab recently developed—also are being accepted here.

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