The city of Sioux Falls has been closely watching COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past five months.
If you look back three months, the Mayor says we’re seeing a downward trend, but he believes we aren’t out of the woods yet, in fact, he predicts with school starting, we are going to see more positive cases of coronavirus.
Unlike other cities across the country, Sioux Falls doesn’t have any mandated restrictions in place when it comes to the coronavirus.
“We are one of the few states and cities that has taken a restriction-free approach, but so far it’s worked in Sioux Falls,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said.
The mayor supports wearing a mask, but doesn’t want to mandate it.
“The data we have in front of us doesn’t justify or warrant a need for a mask mandate, however, does that mean it couldn’t happen in the future, absolutely not it very well could,” TenHaken said.
The mayor says the citizens have acted responsibly in slowing the spread. He pointed to graphs showing there’s been an increase in positive cases within the city, but hospitalizations have continued to trend down since May when they peaked.
“The younger population say the 20’s or 30’s, they may have a little bit more bravado or feeling of invincibility with the virus, so we are seeing a higher infection rate right now in those younger populations,” TenHaken said.
With schools starting up, the mayor says we should all be prepared to see more cases.
“There’s going to be an outbreak in your school, someone will have COVID in your school a teacher will probably have COVID at some point and that’s okay, we have a lot of people who get coronavirus, but very few who end up in the hospital, we have to be comfortable, we have to know that’s going to happen,” TenHaken said.
Avera Health says it has a surplus of PPE, available beds, and testing kits, but health officials warn that could change as we head into the flu season.
“I will tell you frankly if we see an uptick in COVID numbers and at the same time we see a surge in influenza numbers, yes our clinics our hospitals could be overwhelmed,” chief medical officer at Avera McKennan, Dr. Mike Elliot said.
That’s why both Avera and Sanford are urging everyone to get a flu shot this year.
“That is something, that while it is not 100% effective vaccination, it is somewhat effective in eliminating the risk of getting influenza and if we could get that out of the equation as COVID is in our community that would really be helpful to all of us including us as healthcare providers,” vice-president medical officer at Sanford Health, Dr. Mike Wilde said.
We’ve also set up a link to the city’s COVID-19 website, click here.
Watch the full interview: