SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The seven-member Sioux Falls Board of Health met Tuesday at Carnegie Town Hall to discuss the closure of nonessential services due to COVID-19 concerns.
Members of the Board of Health include Liz Wheeler, David Meyer, Teresa Miller, Dr. Mike Pekas, Jonathan Ott, Jo Pankonin and Renae Vink.
The meeting started with the public health manager for Sioux Falls and leadership from the two health care systems in the city outlining what the area is experiencing.
Sioux Falls emergency manager Regan Smith talked about resources that are set up for people, such as the Helpline Center answering calls. Smith says hundreds of calls are coming in each day.
Public Health Director Jill Franken mentioned how proud she is to be involved in efforts to fight COVID-19 in Sioux Falls. She says the city is still digesting the executive order from Governor Kristi Noem and there are ongoing discussions regarding the business ramifications.
She said “slowing the spread” is the primary mission for city health staff at this time.
While this was a strictly informational meeting, there is a chance the Health Board could meet again on Wednesday to discuss regulations to bring to the city council.
Mayor Paul TenHaken was the final speaker. He warned the board it will likely be asked to make recommendations for some enhanced measures. He says it’s likely community spread is in the county already; as new test results are released and if that’s confirmed, he says the city’s response level will go up.
The duty of the Board of Health is to “Exercise general supervision over the health of the city with full power to take all steps and use all measures necessary to promote the general cleanliness and healthfulness of the city and the general health and well-being of the people in the community served.”
On Sunday, Mayor Paul TenHaken’s office said the Board of Health may be asked to consider the mandatory closures of nightclubs and bars that do not prepare served food, video lottery casinos, movie theaters, live performance centers, gyms and fitness centers, bowling alleys, arcades, private social clubs and indoor shopping centers. Dine-in service at restaurants, food courts and coffee houses could be restricted to carry out and drive-thru services only.