COVID-19: Beyond the Numbers–isolation takes its toll

Coronavirus

It’s been seven months since the start of the pandemic and people who are elderly and those with pre-existing conditions are feeling the affects of isolation.

As cases skyrocket in the state, some are choosing to remain in isolation in order to avoid catching the virus.

Katie Ishol recently moved back to South Dakota to be closer to her parents. While she may not be living as far away, she still can’t get physically close to her mom and dad.

“I have not hugged my mom or dad for probably 7 or 8 months. They’re at a much higher risk than the rest of the population, especially considering their age. So I just think it’s important, especially since I’m a frontline worker, that I don’t somehow infect my parents and get them sick,” Ishol said.

Katie Ishol with her parents, Kevin and Sherry

Katie works with the public and her parents are at retirement age. Her dad has a heart condition and her mom suffers from multiple sclerosis.

Sherry Ishol: For me it’s just the total fear of going into the hospital, becoming really sick and not being able to see your family at all,” Sherry said.
Kevin Ishol: This is a serious virus and younger people, maybe it’s not as serious to them, but there’s a lot of people like my wife and I—we’re perfectly normal, but we have those underlying conditions and it would be serious, I’m guessing, if one of us caught the virus.
Kennecke: You don’t want to risk it and find out?
Kevin: Exactly. That’s where we’re at. There’s no gray area.

But the lack of in-person interaction with others, especially Katie, hasn’t been easy.

Sherry: I think that’s been the hardest part of it.
Kevin: And we’re really close. It’s the three of us. She’s very concerned.
Katie: I’m their only child. And we’ve always been really close, so it’s really difficult not being able to see them.

And it looks like the situation won’t be better any time soon.

Kevin: We’ve got a good life ahead of us and I”m not going to risk it on COVID. We’ve got too much to lose.

Katie: I’ve kind of come to terms with the fact that we probably won’t be spending Thanksgiving or Christmas together. I’m excited for the day I can give them a hug again.


We have also been hearing about the increased psychological toll the pandemic is taking on nursing home residents in the state, due to isolation.

Despite attempts to protect the elderly, COVID-19 cases are also on the rise in the state’s nursing homes.

While the Good Samaritan Society has no active cases at its Minnesota and Northwest Iowa facilities, its homes in Deuel County, Corsica, Howard, Lennox, Scotland and Sioux Falls are dealing with a total of 62 residents who have tested positive for the virus. The majority of them are in Sioux Falls. Good Samaritan says the rise in cases appears to be tied to increased community spread.

Good Samaritan Society continues to take precautions and is using vigorous infection control measures while also working closely with the Department of Health. As an integrated part of the Sanford health system, we have had access to resources, clinical expertise and adequate PPE from the onset of COVID-19. The rise in cases appears to be tied to increased community spread. When in close proximity to our most vulnerable loved ones, the community has a responsibility to follow CDC recommendations – wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and get your flu vaccination. The health, safety and well-being of our residents, staff and the communities we serve remains our top priority. We’re so grateful to our staff for their relentless commitment to caring for our residents throughout this pandemic.

  Nate Schema, Good Samaritan Society vice president of operations

Good Samaritan Society has provided KELOLAND News with the following data at its skilled nursing facilities as of 10/14/2020:

SW MINNESOTA

Pipestone

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 64

Edgerton

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 40

Luverne

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 41

NW IOWA

George

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 30

Le Mars

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 46

SOUTH DAKOTA

Canistota

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 47

Canton

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 53

Deuel County

Current active resident cases: 4

Current resident census: 33

Corsica

Current active resident cases: 4

Current resident census: 39

De Smet

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 39

Howard

Current active resident cases: 12

Current resident census: 34

Lennox

Current active resident cases: 5

Current resident census: 37

Miller

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 40

New Underwood

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 33

St. Martin Village

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 51

Scotland

Current active resident cases: 6

Current resident census: 34

Luther Manor

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 79

Sioux Falls Center

Current active resident cases: 31

Current resident census: 79

Sioux Falls Village

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 138

Tyndall

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 57

Wagner

Current active resident cases: 0

Current resident census: 39

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

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