Noem, TenHaken, health officials talk COVID-19


COVID-19 is confirmed in South Dakota; right now there are five cases, including one person who died. The cases are in Beadle, Charles Mix, Davison, Minnehaha and Pennington Counties with patients ranging in age from their 30s to 60s. Gov. Kristi Noem and health officials in Sioux Falls both held news conferences addressing the cases.

“If you are experiencing any symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath, please stay home and call your health care provider,” Noem said. “I encourage all South Dakotans to take this seriously. Now is the time to prepare, but to also stay informed.”

In Sioux Falls, Mayor Paul TenHaken as well as chief medical officers from both Avera and Sanford Health gave similar messages on keeping the public safe. City of Sioux Falls officials say the community should be calm.

“We should not panic,” said Jill Franken, director of health with the City of Sioux Falls. “As a community, we must be focused on the common-sense measures to reduce the spread of disease.”

“If there’s an activity you were maybe going to go to and now feel like it’s something you can miss and just stay home, do that,” TenHaken said.

Tuesday night we also heard from Dr. Allison Suttle, chief medical officer with Sanford Health, and Dr. David Erickson, chief medical and innovation officer with Avera Health.

“We have to think about our neighbors and about each other,” Suttle said. “The more we do that, the slower the spread of the illness, and the more likely that we won’t have as many cases if we’re all a little smarter about doing different things. So first and foremost, it’s going to be washing your hands. Soap and water is the absolute best thing to do.”

“Approximately 80% of patients who have COVID-19 can be treated at home, and that’s an important fact,” Erickson said.

According to the CDC, older people as well as those with heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are at greater risk.

“If you feel you might have COVID-19, please call your regular clinic,” Erickson said. “The most important message you’ve heard from the mayor and my colleagues at Sanford is, please call. Do not come in unannounced, because the risk is you will potentially spread this to staff and other patients. So very important- please call.”

“You might want to consider avoiding large crowds, big crowds of individuals where you could be exposed to surfaces and other individuals that are sick,” Suttle said.

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