Assembly Republican colleagues and I put forward new policy initiatives to help address the coronavirus surge in Wisconsin. The package of ideas include building a robust testing system, doubling the number of contact tracers, assisting the healthcare industry, ensuring an efficient distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, requiring Unemployment Insurance reform and helping small businesses. The goal is to find a consensus so the legislature can act on a bipartisan package in order to better utilize the CARES Act funding that runs out at the end of the year.
I think it's essential that the state dramatically increases testing for COVID-19. We need more community and rapid testing. We also should have at-home tests for Wisconsinites across the state. It's common sense when you think about it; people stay home when they know they're sick. However, with the coronavirus, individuals may have the virus and spread it without even knowing they have it. Studies show roughly 30% of patients who tested positive for coronavirus were asymptomatic. We need to find the virus faster.
I look forward to discussing these legislative initiatives with our Senate colleagues and the governor. It's time for some bipartisan answers because what we are doing now is not working. As we move through the legislative process, I continue to echo the call from health officials that citizens need to follow CDC guidelines: wear a mask, socially distance, wash your hands and stay home when possible.