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ADRC suspends all services but Meals on Wheels

April 17, 2020


The Aging and Disability Resource Center of Oneida County has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting order from Governor Tony Evers that went into effect at 8 a.m. March 25 which eliminated gatherings of over 10 people and closing specific non-essential activities.

Joel Gottsacker, ADRC of the Northwoods interim director said with the exception of Meals on Wheels, “all activities have been suspended.” 

As he was being interviewed on March 27, the U.S. House was still voting on the $2 trillion stimulus bill which passed the Senate unanimously on March 25. The House passed it on a voice vote. Once signed, Gottsacker said it will be a little time before any aid reaches Oneida County. 

“We are waiting for more information on the legislation that is coming down, because there is some funding for older Americans in there and there are some changes in the rules,” Gottsacker said. 

He said any funding will flow from the federal government to the appropriate state agencies.

“It will come down to the state office on aging, gets distributed to the area agencies on aging and then it gets distributed down to the local level,” Gottsacker said. 

He said while this process takes a few weeks, being operated by Oneida County gives them some financial leeway.

“We can kind of anticipate the funds coming so we can start distributing it early,” Gottsacker said.

Meals On Wheels is being run by a caterer who continues to provide the food. However, Gottsacker is concerned about some of his volunteer drivers.

“We still have some volunteers that are coming in, but we see that declining some in the numbers because most of our regular volunteers are older adults,” Gottsacker said. “So they are in a higher risk category and they are slowly opting out.”

He said Vilas County is having the same problem, and a recruiting drive is planned.

He said as the situation continues, the ARDC will probably start seeing more demand for other services “because people are still trying to figure all this out right now.”

“I’m pretty sure we’ll be putting out calls for volunteers to do different things for folks.”

He also acknowledged the real wave of the sickness is probably not going to arrive for a few more weeks.


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