SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — There is some slightly good news to report tonight when it comes to COVID-19.
Health officials in Sioux Falls say the rates of positive tests and hospitalizations appear to have plateaued in the past two weeks.
But they’re also warning people to not let their guard down especially as we head into the holiday season.
The city of Sioux Falls mask mandate went into effect on Saturday to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Today at a news conference, Mayor Paul TenHaken said people are complying.
“After two days with that, there’s been very few problems, at least that I’ve heard about,” TenHaken said.
Even though there’s no penalty for not complying with the mask mandate, the mayor says he thinks people are taking it seriously.
The mandate comes at a time when positivity and hospitalization rates in Sioux Falls have plateaued over the past 14 days.
Health officials say the next two months will be crucial, though, in helping slow the spread.
“Human behavior over Thanksgiving and Christmas is going to weigh in to what the positivity rates are, hospitalization rates are, the death rates are in the next couple of months,” Dr. Mike Elliot of Avera Health said.
While the world waits for the approval of a vaccine, both hospitals in Sioux Falls are using a new drug to treat COVID-19 patients.
“We started using the new monoclonal antibody treatment that was approved last week and that is available for infusion, they show great promise in reducing rates of hospitalizations,” Dr. Mike Wilde of Sanford Health said.
“Over the past couple of weeks, in general, hospitalizations have remained flat, we are all thankful for that, I’d love to tell you we’ve turned the corner, but it’s too darn early to say that for sure,” Dr. Elliot said.
That’s why they still want people to continue following CDC guidelines, including wearing a mask.
Over 500 businesses have now signed on to the Safer Sioux Falls pledge.