COVID-19 numbers improve but officials in Sioux Falls warn that it’s no time to relax on mitigation Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The coronavirus ride will continue and the public can’t take their foot off the gas yet, officials said Nov. 30 during the city of Sioux Falls coronavirus news briefing.

“We have several more months of mitigation that we really have to practice,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said. “Remaining diligent and finishing well over these next couple months is going to be very very important.”

Dr. David Basel of Avera Health said COVID-19 cases and hospitalization have leveled in the Sioux Falls area have leveled in the past several days but they are still at high numbers. The leveling is encouraging, but it doesn’t mean the public can relax, Basel said.

“We can’t take our foot off the gas or things will just start right back increasing again,” Basel said.

City and health officials have urged the public to wear masks, social distance, avoid even small gatherings, practice good hand washing and take other measures to slow the spread of coronavirus during the November news conference.

TenHaken, Basel and Dr. Mike Wilde of Sanford said the recent COVID-19 numbers show the public has been more diligent in those advised practices.

Hospitalizations in the Sioux Falls area were at 209 on Nov. 17 and 189 on Nov. 30. New daily cases were at 295 on Nov. 17 and 264 on Nov. 29 and 80 on Nov. 30.

While the numbers and the news of the upcoming likelihood of approved COVID-19 vaccines are encouraging, the next one to two weeks will reveal how diligent the public was over Thanksgiving.

“We’ll see what sort of diligence was practiced over the last week,” TenHaken said.”And we’ll see what those numbers look like a week from now.”

Basel said Avera expects a small increase in COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving and hopes not to see a large increase.

Sanford has two models to project the spread after Thanksgiving in the next two weeks, Wilde said.

“We have two models that really anticipate a good response to a lot of the messaging around Thanksgiving,” he said.

One model starts to show a decline in the next couple of weeks with a second model that shows a slight increase followed by a decline, Wilde said.

But, if the public relaxes on safety precautions or disregards them, the numbers will change, the two doctors and TenHaken said.

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