Avera and Sanford continue fight against COVID-19; patients “are scared”


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Avera McKennan and Sanford are each seeing cases of COVID-19, and asking for the public’s help as the number of patients grows. KELOLAND’s Travis Fossing explains how the facilities are attempting to flatten the curve.

There’s one common thread when it comes to coronavirus.

“What we’ve seen in the patients, what I’ve seen in the patients, is they are scared,” Sanford Health medical officer Dr. Mike Wilde said.

The number of confirmed cases is on the rise, and hospitals are preparing for the worst.

“We are working diligently to maximize our mask, gowns, gloves, generically referred to as personal protective equipment. In fact, we’ve been able to increase our stockpile of that equipment from about 15 days up to 30 days,” Avera McKennan chief medical officer Dr. Mike Elliott said.

Avera and Sanford are now offering in-house testing for COVID-19.

“We have been able to dramatically decrease the turnaround time from sample collection to results reported out,” Elliott said.

“That has had tremendous benefit in regard to the community, in regard to isolating those as appropriate for a lower amount of time,” Wilde said.

They’re also asking patients to call before visiting.

“You may be directed to a video visit or an online visit of some platform, or you may be directed to our emergency department, but that way we can best assure your safety, those you may interact with, and the health care provider’s safety, as well,” Wilde said.

Last, but not least, continue practicing social distancing.

“Avoid large crowds. Take that six feet of distance between people seriously. If you’re sick, by all means stay home. Try not to spread this virus any further,” Elliott said.

“Hygiene, distancing, etcetera. We’re only trying to reduce the odds of transmission,” Wilde said.

Avera is also allowing volunteers to craft cloth face masks for use in hospitals and clinics.

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