Sioux Falls health officials encourage efforts to slow COVID delta variant

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 10:53 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Sioux Falls health leaders held a COVID-19 press conference for the first time in months Wednesday to address the growing concern of the COVID delta variant.

Representatives from the city, Sanford Health, and Avera Health spoke on how if nothing is done, COVID-19 cases will continue to rise.

“We believe Sioux Falls is about 3-4 weeks away from peaking in terms of cases and hospital capacity, the time to take action is now,” said Dr. Mike Wilde, Sanford Health VP Medical Officer.

All three leaders say preventative measures such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing hands will help slow the spread, but there is one key to putting COVID-19 behind us.

“We cannot emphasize that enough, the vaccine is the way we get out of this situation,” said Dr. Charles Chima, Sioux Falls Public Health Director. “I think we all desire to get back to life as we knew it prior to the beginning of the pandemic, and we are convinced that vaccines are the way we get there.”

Some places are taking stronger steps not just suggesting, rather mandating measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

A growing number of school districts have started requiring masks.

This comes as more and more organizations, including Sanford Health, are mandating that all employees get vaccinated. Some feel these measures infringe on their freedoms and are turning those concerns into action, in the form of protest.

“When this requirement came out, I say it’s abusive to say do this to your body or else,” said one protestor in Mitchell.

At the Sioux Falls press conference, all the leaders spoke on the delta variant and how it is infecting more children and recommended students and school staff wear masks.

The Sioux Falls School District tells Dakota News Now that they continue to encourage the use of face coverings, but are not mandating them at this time.

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