SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — No one wants a repeat of the COVID-19 surge from last fall but the Sioux Falls area is headed for another peak, said Dr. Michael Wilde from Sanford Health. Wilde and other health officials spoke Wednesday in a news conference.
“No one wants to go through what (we did last year),” Wilde said. Wilde said the area could peak in about four to six weeks.
“We are already above what our secondary peak was last spring…,” Dr. David Basel of Avera Health said. The area has blown through that, he said, in terms of case numbers.
The state and Sioux Falls area peak came in November of 2020. Numbers began creeping up in August of 2020.
The COVID-19 numbers tracked for the Sioux Falls area are already slightly higher than the August 2020 numbers, according to the city of Sioux Falls COVID-19 dashboard.
On Aug. 30, 2020, the Sioux Falls area had 76 new cases of COVID-19. From Aug. 26 through Aug. 29, new cases for each day were: 64, 58, 65, and 124.
On Aug. 30, 2021, the Sioux Falls area had 106 new cases. It had 106 cases on Aug. 26 and 93 cases on Aug. 27.
There were 654 active COVID-19 cases on Aug. 31, 2020, and 1,060 active cases on Aug. 31, 2021.
The case numbers were enough for Wilde, Basel and Sioux Falls Public Health Director Dr. Charles Chima to call for those who are unvaccinated to get vaccinated, for people to wear masks and for masks to be used in schools. They also want to see the public follow other guidelines to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Basel and Wilde said hospital capacity at Avera and Sanford is dwindling. Of the 136 COVID-19 patients at Sanford, 129 are unvaccinated while 35 of 37 patients in the ICU are unvaccinated.
As of Aug 31, 2020, there were 31 people in Sioux Falls area hospitals. There were 196 in the hospital as of August 31, 2021, according to the Sioux Falls COVID-19 dashboard.
Chima said the active cases now are being led by the unvaccinated. Also, he, Wilde and Basel said there is downward trend in the age of those contracting COVID-19 and being hospitalized, including children.
“It’s that big shift in age downward,” Basel said.
Although COVID-19 numbers are creeping ahead of last year’s trend, getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help curb the spread and lessen the impact, the health officials said.