COVID for Christmas? Local health official said public should start talking about holiday plans Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — People should evaluate whether or not they could risk giving someone COVID for Christmas.

“I think now is probably a good time to talk about your holiday plans. Unfortunately due to this pandemic, there may have to be some alterations this year,” Dr. Mike Wilde of Sanford Health said during an Oct. 19 city of Sioux Falls news conference about the coronavirus pandemic.

Wilde said conversations with loved ones should include if traveling or gathering for Thanksgiving or Christmas makes sense this year because of the pandemic.

As of Oct. 19, the state had 8,388 active cases of COVID-19 with 304 hospitalized and the Sioux Falls area had 2,447 active with 140 hospitalizations, according to the South Dakota Department of Health.

“All projections are showing we are not done yet,” said Dr. David Basel of Avera.

Small and large social gatherings, such as those that could happen for Thanksgiving and Christmas, have shown to be instances where the coronavirus has been spread, Basel and Wilde said.

The two health officials along with Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken stressed the public needs to be more vigilant in its response to the coronavirus. Needed actions stressed by TenHaken and Basel were mask-wearing. All three encouraged social distancing and other measures.

The urge to be more vigilant comes about a week away from another large event scheduled for the state.

Gov. Kristi Noem’s Sportsmen’s Showcase is set for Oct. 23 and 24 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center and Arena. It was announced on Sunday, Oct. 18, that country music performer Chase Rice would replace Chris Young for the event’s Oct. 24 concert. Young had on Sept. 22 canceled his performance for the event. Rice will perform at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.

TenHaken said he did not know about the state’s protocol for the sportsmen’s event.

That facility has its own protocols in place, TenHaken said. But there are no mandates to restrict events or define the protocol, he said.

The city relies on the event sponsors to use protocols for their guests during the pandemic, TenHaken said. He assumes protocols will be in place for the showcase.

Halloween is about two weeks away.

“I would ask that people do that safely,” TenHaken said of Halloween trick or treating. “There’s a lot of different ways to do that.”

Families need to do what’s best for them with trick or treating, he said. For some it could mean not doing that this year.

The Centers for Disease Control has guidelines for those who may hand out trick or treating treats that include:

  • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
  • Give out treats outdoors, if possible.
  • Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take.
  • Wash hands before handling treats.
  • Wear a mask.

CDC guidelines for those who trick or treat include:

  • Make your cloth mask part of your costume.
  • A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask.
  • Do NOT wear a costume mask over a cloth mask. It can make breathing more difficult.
  • Masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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