SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Public Health Director Jill Franken had an update on the spread of COVID-19 in Sioux Falls on Wednesday morning.
She began the briefing by thanking local businesses and organizations that have been promoting social distancing. Franken said she’s “very pleased” to see the community following new compliances to promote social distancing. She also thanked surrounding towns around Sioux Falls for also promoting ways to social distance.
Franken said she and Mayor Paul TenHaken have been looking at similar cities and their COVID-19 response. She gave examples of cities like Fargo, N.D., Omaha, Neb., Des Moines, Iowa, Tallahassee, Fl. and Dayton, Ohio. She says Sioux Falls is modeling data shared between those cities.
Franken said based on data from March 30, Sioux Falls is at 13.18 cases per 100k people in both Minnehaha and Lincoln counties combined. Tallahassee, Florida is at 6.49. She says Sioux Falls and Tallahassee reported the first COVID-19 cases around the same time. They are comparing that data to similar situations around the country.
Franken said Tallahassee, Florida, which is at 6.49 cases per 100K, has a curfew each night and has a few other policies in place. She said Sioux Falls has done a lot ahead of time, but there are still steps the city is monitoring.
Sioux Falls City Council will have another special meeting Wednesday to discuss the latest ordinance. Franken says it will be extended and possibly amended. Franken also says shelter at home rules and curfew are possible for Sioux Falls and the city will be looking at that in the coming days.
City Attorney Stacy Kooistra said everyone at the city, state and federal levels have been weighing public health risk vs. legal rights. He said it continues to be an on-going discussion.
The public health director emphasized the importance to keep practicing social distancing, good hygiene and staying home if you feel ill. She said she worked in a healthcare system for 17 years before starting to work for the City of Sioux Falls. She said the leadership of the health systems are working hard to stay prepared. She also said people need to protect the community but also their healthcare workers.