SF Public Health Director: Positivity rate concerning

Coronavirus

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — This Thursday, daily life will change for many people when classes resume in the Sioux Falls School District. It’s happening during a pandemic, and on Tuesday we got an update on how the city is faring with COVID-19 overall.

In the Sioux Falls area, active cases peaked on May 11 then fell considerably. In recent weeks they’ve trended up, although recent days have seen a drop. Hospitalizations peaked on May 10 and May 11 with 71 on both days. Tuesday’s number of hospitalizations is 29.

City of Sioux Falls Public Health Director Jill Franken says Avera and Sanford are in a comfortable spot.

“Right now they’re feeling very good about the capacity to handle what’s coming to them in our community specifically,” Franken said. “I’m not speaking for them system-wide, of course.”

Franken says the Sioux Falls area’s positivity rate is concerning. 5% is considered a benchmark, but for the week ending on August 22, that number was just over 17%.

“Our rates are pretty high, and so we’re seeing that that means we’re either not testing enough or we’re seeing more rates of COVID infection in our community and in my estimation, it’s because we’re not doing enough testing, and so we are having some internal dialogue about how we can support some of the community efforts to maybe do a little bit more testing in our community especially with some of our vulnerable populations,” Franken said.

City councilors also had a chance to weigh in on Tuesday.

“I just picked up my 12-year-old daughter from junior high, and said that one of the kids in her homeroom class tested positive, and that we’ll probably be getting a call to isolate or for her to stay home for 14 days, depending on how close she was to this fellow student,” Starr said.

“I’ve been surprised at how many times people thought they were a close contact and that they’d probably be getting a call from the state Department of Health and then they didn’t,” Franken said. “Because we might think something is a close exposure, but they have their very specific criteria.”

You can dig through Sioux Falls and South Dakota COVID-19 data on the City’s website by clicking on “COVID-19 Dashboard.”


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