SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Health officials in northwest Iowa are urging schools, churches and businesses to require masks and social distancing so local hospitals don’t get overwhelmed.

A message on the Orange City Area Health System’s website says Sioux County hospitals are no longer transferring the most acute COVID-19 patients to Sioux Falls or Sioux City. The Orange City Health system says the larger hospitals are at full capacity.

Administrators from the four Sioux County health systems have specific requests from the community to slow the spread:

  1. Mandate facial coverings/masks at every possible level to help reduce the viral load/spread
  2. Maintain recommended physical distancing protocols in all indoor facilities
  3. Continue to promote hand hygiene, and measures to sanitize/clean surfaces

According to the Orange City Area Health System, Sioux County is currently experiencing a COVID-19 “positivity rate” of 30 percent, higher than any other county in Iowa.

When asked about South Dakota hospitals turning away patients earlier this week, the Secretary of Health said she was not aware of that happening and said the rumors were not true.

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