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Health Care Workers Renew Call For Hazard Pay As COVID-19 Cases Rise

As cases of COVID-19 are spiking in Wisconsin and across much of the nation, health care workers around the state are renewing demands for paid sick leave and hazard pay.

“We should be able to focus on providing the best care for our patients without the worries of what could happen to us, our jobs or our families if we do get sick,” said Ryann Streicher, a labor and delivery nurse at a Madison hospital.

New cases of coronavirus, which leveled off for much of June, began climbing recently. Sunday, the state recorded its third-largest number of daily cases since May 29 when there were 733 new cases. “This virus isn’t going away,” said Streicher. She and other health care workers support a new bill introduced by Democrats Rep. Robyn Vining, D-Wauwatosa; Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-West Point; and Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit called the Healthcare Heroes Act.

The bill would require hospitals to pay certain health care workers more during a public health emergency. It also would require health care facilities to provide at least 15 days of paid medical leave for workers who contract COVID-19.

Victorial Guttierez is a critical care nurse who has worked at a Madison hospital for 17 years […]

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