SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– Community actions to help stop the spread of COVID-19 have not gone unnoticed by the Dow Rummel Village.

Darla Van Rosendale, CEO of Dow Rummel, said they are depending more on the community than just themselves to keep their COVID-19 cases and deaths low.

“Without community helping to stop the spread, our staff are so vulnerable when they go home to their families; when they stop at the grocery store to go grocery shopping,” Rosendale said. “I think that having masks become mandatory in Sioux Falls has helped because we have seen that decrease. The exposure to our staff has decreased because of that, so wearing masks really does help.”

The citywide mask mandate for Sioux Falls went into affect on Nov. 21, 2020, and has been extended until March 13, 2021.

Rosendale said the staff has worked closely together to stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout the facility. However, they have seen more COVID-19 among the staff due to school starting back up and more family exposure.

Like other nursing homes, Dow Rummel has experienced a couple of deaths due to COVID-19.

According to the latest nursing home COVID-19 data from AARP, South Dakota is averaging 3.93 deaths per 100 residents. South Dakota has the second-highest rate, just behind North Dakota at 3.97.

AARP report

“With our resident’s average age well over 90, we know what COVID can do to people of that age,” said Rosendale, who did not go into specific death totals.

There have been 950 people ages 80+ who have died from COVID-19 in the state, according to the South Dakota Department of Health data released on Friday.  

Dow Rummel did not have more than one coronavirus case inside the building until late November. The last couple days of November and through most of December was a tough time due to the number of COVID-19 cases they experienced at once, Rosendale said.

Vaccines have been provided to Dow Rummel residents and staff. The staff had their first opportunity for vaccines in the middle of December and then received their second dose in the beginning of January. About 100 staff members have had both doses of the vaccine.

Dow Rummel partnered with Avera Health to do a vaccine clinic. During the clinic, they provided vaccines to 288 people in one day.

About 95% of residents have gotten their first dose of the vaccine and next week will receive the second dose. Some residents cannot receive the vaccine because they have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days.  

“I expect we will be at about 99% of our residents who will get the vaccine when they have the opportunity,” Rosendale said.

Approximately 45% of staff have gotten the first or second dose of the vaccine. Dow Rummel continues to educate staff on why they should consider the vaccine.