SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Mayor Paul TenHaken and Public Health Director Jill Franken held a city update on the COVID-19 response in Sioux Falls at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The mayor started briefing by saying the city is providing a notice to the Board of Health, which meets on Thursday, to consider an ordinance to limit gatherings to 10 or less, enforced by law. TenHaken called the ordinance “very strict.” He said it would follow the guidelines on businesses and organizations from Gov. Noem’s executive order.
He says he’s not requesting Sioux Falls businesses to close, but he wants to mandate each business cannot have more than 10 patrons at a time and he wants that to be enforceable by law. TenHaken says the plan doesn’t include salons and stylists, but he said each salon business needs to know how to operate with safety to employees and customers.
TenHaken thanked Senators Rounds and Thune for providing help, citing the federal bill recently passed. The One Sioux Falls fund continues to grow and it used to fill in the gaps the federal government’s bill might not reach. Mayor TenHaken is calling on businesses to continue to support it. He says 120 families will receive financial help this week. He said there’s some tough situations out there and he’s trying to help everyone. He also added there is support coming from the federal level.
The mayor says President Trump’s Easter Sunday restart date is “very unlikely.” He reminded the public to continue to listen to state and local leaders on the latest COVID-19 situation in Sioux Falls and South Dakota.
“By distancing ourselves, we will stick together,” TenHaken said.
Public Health Director Jill Franken said the Board of Health meeting Tuesday went well and another meeting is scheduled for Thursday. She is thanking the board members for their input and support to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
She says the community of Sioux Falls is seeing more and more of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said people who have been asked to stay in quarantine, should stay in quarantine.
Sanford Medical Officer Dr. Mike Wilde says Sanford is seeing positive cases of COVID-19 and the hospital is accepting patients for COVID-19. Dr. Wilde said there is plenty of stress, and he encouraged people to reach out for mental health care. He said there are plenty of resources and Sanford is prepared.
Avera McKennan Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mike Elliott said Avera is a proud partner with the City of Sioux Falls and supports the mayor and decisions he’s trying to make. He says Avera is focusing on being prepared to build surge capacity, and they have in-house testing to help decreased turnaround time on test results.
On community spread in Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County, Mayor TenHaken said he couldn’t confirm if it is happening. He said Gov. Noem will have more COVID-19 details in another news conference at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
One week after announcing a $1 million fund for the Sioux Falls area, Mayor Paul TenHaken said 1,000 people/families have applied for housing assistance.
TenHaken tweeted the announcement Wednesday morning and adding federal relief will also be coming to people as well. He asked anyone considering support should apply to the One Sioux Falls Fund at sfacf.org/covid-19.
Avera McKennan Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mike Elliott and Sanford VP Medical Officer Dr. Mike Wilde will also speak at Wednesday’s briefing.