SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Organizations representing medical personnel from across South Dakota are calling on Governor Kristi Noem to declare a public health emergency, shut down nonessential businesses and stop nonessential elective surgeries and procedures.
The South Dakota State Medical Association says if the State government doesn’t take stronger action, our health systems and those who work in it could be at great risk.
South Dakota doctors, nurses and other health care workers are putting out a plea to the public to “stay home” to stop the spread of COVID-19 in order to keep health care systems from being overwhelmed and unable to treat patients.
“We have great concerns about restaurants, bars and other locations being open still that’s allowing people to get together and potentially spread the virus,” Dr. Robert Summerer, President of the South Dakota State Medical Association, said.
That’s why the South Dakota State Medical Association is calling on Governor Kristi Noem to order the closure of nonessential businesses across the state.
“They need the leadership from the State and from the governor. A public health emergency would allow a lot of those things to be cleared to create rules that are statewide, rather than by county or by city,” Dr. Summerer said.
The group is also calling for a suspension of all nonessential elective surgeries and procedures in order to preserve medical equipment. It is not just protective equipment and ventilators that could be in short supply.
“It’s all of the supplies that go with those ventilators in order to take care of patients; including pharmaceuticals and the tubes that are used to intubate people. And that’s on a critically low supply and we don’t have the ability to get more oftentimes and so that’s very worrisome for the healthcare community,” Dr. Summerer said.
Dr. Robert Summerer says it will take Gov. Noem declaring a public health emergency to avoid shortages.
“We need stronger statements from the governor encouraging that. We recognize the sacrifice is great, we also recognize there is value in the sacrifice by preserving our supplies and ability to take care of patients,” Dr. Summerer said.
The governor’s office says Noem’s executive order already addresses these issues and points out that the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and South Dakota Retailers are asking her not to shut down all nonessential businesses.
“Others may use the language “essential” or “non-essential,” we’re looking at the data and facts of what is happening on the ground in South Dakota and allowing CDC guidance and science to drive decision-making, so we can sustain this for the many weeks we may have ahead of us. I’d encourage the folks you’re speaking with to read the Governor’s Executive Order – it addresses both issues.”Maggie Seidel, Policy Director and Senior Advisor to Gov. Kristi Noem