RAPID CITY, S. D. (KELO) — As Pennington County sees a dramatic rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, Rapid City’s Mayor announced today that everyone is required to wear masks in city facilities.
According to the State Department of Health, there have been about 350 positive cases in the last week in Pennington County, along with five deaths.
I spoke with the Rapid City Medical Center which has also noticed a drastic increase in patients with symptoms of the coronavirus and who test positive.
“Especially from over the summer. Honestly a few weeks after the rally is when we started to see it pick up and now it’s gotten, it’s gotten a lot bigger,” Bindel said.
Heather Bindel is the Chief Operating Officer for Rapid City Medical Center. She says one way people can help slow the spread of COVID-19 is by wearing masks.
“Wearing them when you are out in public, the CDC has that recommendation and they haven’t wavered from that and have found in many instances, they’ve confirmed it decreased the spread,” Bindel said.
Which is exactly what Mayor Allender is hoping to do.
“We’ve had our first three true cases of COVID within the walls of city hall and those individuals were all in the same meeting with nine other people last week,” Mayor Allender said.
Allender says there are several changes effective immediately for city employees. That includes people are allowed to work from home if they want, everyone is required to wear a mask in city buildings, most in-person meetings are suspended, and city work groups will be isolated.
“For example, we’ll keep the finance employees with finance employees and the public works employees with public works and mayor’s office with mayor’s office employees. We’ll segregate those workgroups so that we are not having any unnecessary intermingling,” Mayor Allender said.
City buildings will have masks available if you do not have one. Mayor Allender also encourages people to use online options for doing business.