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.

Don’t rely on rumors and hearsay.
Know the facts and stop rumors!

For local up-to-date health information, recommendations, and advisories visit the website and Facebook page for the Lincoln County Health Department.   

Fact sheets:

This is a stressful time for everyone, there is help for all who need it!

211 is an information and referral program that can provide information about COVID-19 and resources that may be available in your area. 211 is available by phone 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.

  • Dial 211 or 800-922-5590
  • Text 898-211 to communicate with a call specialist Monday-Friday 8 am-4 pm
  • Text 211-211 24 hours/day 7days/week to have general COVID-19 info texted to you
  • Call volumes are high, please be patient and try to use the text or online options first.

If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of COVID-19, please call your healthcare provider.

There are also food and financial resources for those in need.

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 Lincoln 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. If you have any child care questions, you can also contact Micki Krueger (Assistant Director, www.childcaring.org) at 715.841.9490 or 1.800.628.8534.


Click on a subject below to be taken to the resources we have available:

Staying Calm and Alleviating Fear

Ways to help deal with the fear and stress of the situation. If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, click here.

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?  Lincoln County Veterans Services has a page with COVID-19 Resources for Veterans.

Being Homebound with Youth

Ways to keep the youth engaged and the family united.

Social Needs

Everyone still needs food and the basic 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

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.

Staying Connected

Being Mentally and Emotionally Resilient

Keeping Active

Ways to Help: Volunteer Individuals and Organizations

“Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers    Ways to help and stay safe during the crisis.

Agriculture and COVID-19

Agriculture and farming present unique challenges when it comes to COVID-19 and “Safer at Home”.  We have resources to help deal with those situations.

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:

Personal

Farm/Agricultural

Small Businesses


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.

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Living with Vulnerable Populations

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Being Homebound with Youth

  • General Resources

    • Preparing Children for Being Home Alone – Knowing when your child is capable of staying home alone and preparing them for the challenges of doing so is not an easy task. This Extension website provides a video series that can help.
    • 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.
  • Keeping youth calm and informed

  • Education on the Home Front

    • How to Keep Young Children Learning – Advice from the Wisconsin Center for Education Research
    • Free WiFI Options
      • Merrill
        • TB Scott Library Parking Lot
        • Some MAPS schools parking lots
        • CPR Computer Services, LLC, 2806 E. Main Street, Merrill (by Cup and Cone). 715-536-2900. WIFI is available in the parking lot. Please don’t block the main entrance.
        • Downtown Mission Church 715-539-6216 is available for online study halls, however, participants are limited by the hour for internet usage.
      • Tomahawk
        • Tomahawk Library Parking Lot

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Social Needs

  • Guidelines for Shopping (PDF, 1 page)  – Staying at home is smart and helpful, however, if you do need to go out following these guidelines will greatly reduce the risk to you and others.
  • Food Planning During the Pandemic – Tips on food planning and making sure you have what you need without wasting it.
  • Food Saftey and COVID-19 FAQ is a great resource from Dr. Barbara Ingham, Professor and Food Safety Specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Safe & Healthy: Preparing and Preserving Food at Home is a blog by the Division of Extension that provides evidence-based and proven methods for safely preparing and preserving foods.
  • School Food Resources

    • Merrill Area Public Schools
      No information at this time, please contact your school if you have questions.
    • Tomahawk School District
      No information at this time, please contact your school if you have questions.
    • Food for Kids (Merrill)
      Food for Kids bags are continuing to be distributed to parents of children who are already enrolled in this program.  They are available on Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m. via “drive-through” at Door 1 of St. Stephens Church. Parents should drive up, stay in their vehicles and a volunteer will come out to assist them.
  • Meals on Wheels/Senior Meal Sites

    • Meals on Wheels
      Meals on Wheels will continue throughout Lincoln County (and other counties served by ADRC-CW: Langlade, Marathon, and Wood). Call 888-486-9545 to determine meal eligibility.
    • Merrill: The Senior Dining Site held at Jenny Towers will be closed to the public. Individuals that live at Jenny Towers can receive a packaged meal.
    • Tomahawk: The Senior Dining Site held at the Tomahawk Senior Center will be closed to the public. No packaged meals will be offered at this location. For information on Meals on Wheels eligibility, call the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Central Wisconsin: 715-536-0311 or 888-486-9545.
  • Resources for Those in Need

    • WIC
      The WIC program is providing services remotely to existing clients. Questions regarding services or to see if you qualify, call or text 715-493-0733 or call 800-246-5743
    • ​Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
      If you or someone you know uses SNAP (EBT) and could benefit from additional assistance in purchasing essential groceries this month, head over to Expensify.org/hunger. They are providing matching SNAP grocery purchases up to $50 per family.
    • Food Pantry Information
      • Community Food Pantry, Merrill
        Monday – Wednesday 10 a.m. to Noon; Thursdays 10 a.m. to Noon and 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.  Emergency Requests 715-212-1190
      • His Hands Extended New Testament Church, Merrill
        Tuesday and Thursday, by appointment only — 715-536-8554
      • Open Hearts Food Pantry Trinity Lutheran Church, Merrill
        The pantry will be  open Wednesday and Friday’s from 2 – 4 p.m.  Rather than people coming inside to the pantry, they will have a drive up at the main door of the church on the Main Street side and a pantry volunteer will come out to see what the person needs and then bring it out to their vehicle
      • United Methodist Church Food Pantry, 1104 School Road, Tomahawk
        Second Tuesday 3 – 5:30 p.m., Wednesday 1 – 3 p.m. and Friday 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m
    • Meals for Merrill – Open to any individual or family in need, Meals for Merrill provides blessing bags, including food for meals and snacks as well as toiletries such as deodorant, toothpaste, and shampoo. Requests can be made by calling (715) 539-6216 or messaging the Downtown Mission Church on Facebook.
  • Grocery Options

    • Merrill
      • Dave’s County Market (715-536-2571)
        Every Wednesday from 7-10 AM is available for elderly customers or those with health issues to call for pick-up.
      • Wal-Mart (715-536-2414)
        Open Tuesdays for seniors at 6 a.m. and the general public at 7 a.m.  The pharmacy drive-through is open.  Note: Wal-Mart Rhinelander and Wausau/Rib Mountian have on-line ordering and drive through pick up.
      • Westside Market (715-722-1077):
        No special hours for seniors, however, if supplies are needed outside of “normal” hours, please call and we will accommodate. Pick up available upon call.
    • Tomahawk
      • Great Lakes Foods of Tomahawk (715-224-2065)
        Pick up and delivery (greater Tomahawk area/Harrison Hills/Tripoli). Please call the store between 7:00 am – 7:00 pm for details and to order.
        Seniors and those at risk are encouraged to shop between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. when the store has been recently sanitized and there are fewer shoppers.
      • Trig’s
        Pick up and delivery options available through their online program:  Trig’s to Go
        Trig’s pharmacy now offers the option to pick up the order at curbside.  They have a sign outside, pull up, call the store 715-453-2174, press the option & they bring it out.
        Trig’s “Deli-to-go”  call  715-453-2174
  • Restaurant Options

    • Merrill Area
      • The Merrill Chamber has food resources on its first page
      • Visit eatinmerrill.com for information on Merrill restaurants who do carry-out, curbside pickup and delivery.
    • Tomahawk Area — WJJQ has a page with information on Tomahawk restaurants who do carry-out, curbside pickup and delivery.
  • Additional delivery options for the elderly and disabled:

    • People in Tomahawk and the surrounding area can get groceries and meals from restaurants delivered to their home by calling Mike at Bear Renovations. He is donating his time and resources to pick up your groceries and meals from restaurants and will deliver it to your door. Call Mike at 715-224-3055 for free pickup and delivery from restaurants and grocery stores.
    • Call Lynn 920-915-9392 or email @  ldavis0164@yahoo.com for help with errands, meal/food pick up & delivery, medication pick up & delivery.  Lynn lives in the Nokomis area, and has for the past 7 years, services not limited to that area, she has time and is willing to help anyone who has any need! Call to see if she can help you with your needs.
    • Tomahawk Interfaith Volunteers (TIV): This group is offering to help people with shopping and pick up medications. Call to request assistance: 715-453-8200.

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Staying Connected

  • 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.

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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.

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Keeping Active

  • Indoor Activities
  • Outdoor Activities
    • The Governor’s FAQ on the Safer at Home order clearly states that outdoor activities are not only allowed but are actually encouraged:
      Can I go outside for walks, outdoor exercise, or to play?
           Yes. You may engage in outdoor activities that meet social distancing requirements. You may travel to public and state parks for walks, hikes, and bike rides. No team or contact sports are permitted. Playgrounds are closed.
    • Tips to Enjoy the Outdoors and Prevent COVID-19 (PDF, 2 pages) Helpful tips to keep you safe while enjoying the outdoors from the Lincoln County Health Department.
    • Using the State Parks
      Effective May 1, most Wisconsin State Park properties will be open to the public. 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 state parks have updated hours of operation from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will be closed on Wednesdays. (Northern forests, flowages, and the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway are exempt from these changes.) 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.

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Volunteering and Helping Organizations

  • Volunteering
    • Volunteer Wisconsin – Volunteer Wisconsin connects volunteers with organizations that need help and organization that need help with volunteers.
    • Stay at Home and Sew a Mask – Join the Lincoln County Health Department and do a “Stay at Home and Sew a Mask for our Community Members” April 1st – April 10th.  The patterns and instructions are on the page.
    • Downtown Mission Church (715-539-6216) is accepting donations through Go Fund Me.
    • Comfort and Care Project – Americinn is partnering with Merrill Area Housing Authority to deliver basic necessities to the elderly and shut-in in Merrill.  The Americinn accepting donations, both monetary and product, at their Merrill location. Visit their Facebook post or call, 715-536-7979  call for more information.
    • Ascension Wisconsin (PDF, 2 pages) is now accepting donations for personal protective equipment.  Please see the PDF for complete details.  NOTE:  At this time, Ascension Wisconsin cannot accept handmade donations (ex: sewn face masks) and is working with local and state health officials to determine if such items could be an option in the future.
    • Ascension Caregivers Fund – This fund was established to help caregivers right here in Merrill meet their family needs, enhance their safety, and provide for their physical, emotional and spiritual needs in this unprecedented time. All gifts to the Ascension Good Samaritan Hospital Associate Assistance Fund will be used to help these dedicated caregivers, as they help our community. Your kindness and support will mean the world to them. Click here to make your gift online, quickly and securely. Or feel free to email me at jane.bentz@ascension.org if you’d like me to contact you.
  • Information for volunteer organizations
    • Staying Safe in Group Settings (pdf, 1 page) – Safety tips for group settings (homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, correctional facilities)

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Agriculture and COVID-19

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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 Caronavirus 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.

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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 Saftey 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 – Extention’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.

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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!

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