Monument Health urges everyone to take COVID-19 precautions over the holidays

Local News

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — With Christmas just days away, the number of COVID-19 deaths continues to rise in South Dakota. Today the state reported 11 more people with the virus died, including one person in their 30s and two people in their 50s. All together, the state has reported 115 deaths just this month alone. To give you some perspective, that’s more than five deaths per day.

It’s a joyous time of year as we gather with loved ones. But for a second year in a row, doctors want you to keep COVID-19 at the top of your mind during the holidays.

“We deal with a vulnerable population simply because of the average age here at our facilities. And more importantly, I would tell you that the people who live here also take the COVID pandemic extremely serious. So we feel duty-bound to do the best job that we can do for them but also their family members,” Daryl Reinicke, CEO of West Hills Village, said.

The West Hills Village Retirement Home in Rapid City is excited to welcome all of this year’s visitors, but health and safety are as important as ever.

“And yet we can do this in a way that still allows for a lot of fun, a lot of festivities versus not being able to accomplish what everyone would like to see,” Reinicke said.

While the number of COVID-19 patients is down to 37 at Monument Health. The hospital remains full with a variety of patients.

“A lot of folks that routinely get care are going to be delayed in getting their care because they either didn’t seek care or postponed seeking care or now the backlog starts to accumulate,” Dr. Kurra said.

Dr. Shankar Kurra from Monument Health says the hospital is prepared for a rise in cases due to the new Omicron variant. He is also expecting it to be busy over the holiday season and is urging everyone to take precautions.

“So please get the vaccine and more importantly, if you are already vaccinated get the booster. If you are boosted and vaccinated your protection is 80 percent against this virus. It protects you from hospitalization and from death,” Dr. Kurra said.

Allowing you to celebrate while keeping yourself, your loved ones and the community safe.

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