SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The COVID-19 pandemic is hanging on in KELOLAND as health care workers battle the latest surge in cases and hospitalizations.

Sanford Health says across all of its hospitals, it is caring for 231 coronavirus patients.

62 percent of those patients are unvaccinated

The health system is also seeing COVID patients who are vaccinated and boosted, however, those cases make up a smaller percentage.

Matt Peterson works in the COVID-19 unit at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls.

The nurse says the frustration never ends.

“I’m frustrated that every day I come to work it’s the same thing over and over again. There’s still a population out there that doesn’t want to get vaccinated, knowing that easily that is the first thing you need to do and prevent coming to the hospital,” Sanford pulmonary unit charge nurse Matt Peterson said.

The nurse of 12 years says every hospital bed is precious right now.

“The entire hospital is full. Our ED is full. Each floor is full. Each bed, when it opens, there’s a patient waiting right away. There’s not a lapse in open beds and our COVID unit is always full and we’re starting to overflow to other floors because we’re that full,” Peterson said.

Peterson says some COVID-19 patients are confused because they’re lacking oxygen.

“It’s very difficult to keep them in their bed, keep their oxygen on. The hallways, the trashes are full because we’re constantly taking our gowns off. There’s equipment in the hallways all the time. There’s just a sense of urgency,” Peterson said.

His message to the public: take COVID-19 seriously.

“Trust the health care workers. We’re here doing this every day. We’re not making any of this up. Please get vaccinated and get boosted,” Peterson said.

So far, nearly 57 percent of South Dakotans eligible to receive the shot have completed their vaccinations.
About 30 percent have gotten a booster dose.