SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken and Public Health Director Jill Franken addressed the COVID-19 response in the city Thursday morning.
TenHaken says positive rates with COVID-19 data is not the only metric the city looks at. He showed data for positivity test rate is at 18.5%.
The mayor asks that the public practices patience. He says we’re living in the most impatient time, and people are expecting things instantly. TenHaken says time is needed in measuring the spread of COVID-19.
As city buildings open back up for business, Mayor TenHaken said the city is asking for the public to wear masks when they come into the facilities. He said there was a debate whether to require masks, but he said some people “are really dug in” on not wearing masks and didn’t want to discourage them.
TenHaken said park restrooms and the Falls Park visitor center are still closed. He said that announcement will come on May 29 in conjunction with guidelines for sports leagues.
The mayor said he’s seen a lot of businesses adapting ways to provide safe services. He said they are coming up innovative ways to keep customers safe. TenHaken said the city of Sioux Falls is being aggressive to keep flattening the curve.
He stressed the city isn’t going to stop COVID-19, it is trying to slow it down, and that remains the goal.
TenHaken said there’s been a lot of missed projections because we don’t know enough about the virus. He said it is not the time to take a victory lap.
The mayor said the community needs to learn to live with COVID-19. He said he wouldn’t walk into a store and sneeze or punch the worker. Therefore, he wears a mask to prevent himself from spreading COVID-19 to a worker when walking into a store.
TenHaken said for “whatever reason” masks have become the symbol of defiance during the pandemic but he encourages the public to wear masks to stop spreading the virus to others.
Public Health Director Jill Franken is speaking about the recovery center. Since March, the city of Sioux Falls has provided isolation areas for more than 130 guests to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Franken said one of the isolation center guests died overnight Tuesday.
Stay with KELOLAND News for more coverage online and on-air.