Avera converting space for extra 150 hospital rooms for COVID-19 surge


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Last week, Gov. Kristi Noem announced South Dakota and the health care systems of Avera McKennan, Sanford Health and Monument Health agreed to prepare for a need of 5,000 extra hospital beds to handle a surge of COVID-19 patients. 

On Thursday, Avera announced plans to convert the Prairie Center on its main campus to a 150 bed hospital. The health system, which has 545-beds on its main campus, is preparing for the worst.

Avera will convert space in its Prairie Center on the main campus to add space for an additional 150 patient rooms. 

“Avera has been watching the evolution of the COVID-19 crisis in other countries and other areas of the United States. We know we must be incredibly intentional about our plans, and we are taking advantage of this window of time to make sure we are prepared for when a patient surge comes,” CEO and President David Flicek said in a news release.

Avera said clinics and services from the Prairie Center will relocate temporarily. Patients impacted by the moves will be contacted by Avera for specific information about appointments. 

Avera has postponed elective procedures to protect patients and employees while conserving protective equipment.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever over 100 degrees, cough and shortness of breath. If you feel you might have this virus, please call your clinic or call 1-877-AT-AVERA (1-877-282-8372). Do not go in person to your clinic without calling first.

Sanford announced Thursday it has started screening employees Wednesday and is now using 90-minute tests on patients with the greatest need.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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