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Sanford Health expects COVID-19 spike to continue in February

Even as active COVID-19 cases dropped in the state Tuesday, health systems are still seeing an increase in hospitalizations because of the virus.
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 9:16 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Even as active COVID-19 cases dropped in the state Tuesday, health systems are still seeing an increase in hospitalizations because of the virus. Sanford Health is now projecting that a large number of South Dakotans will contract the virus before the end of February.

According to the South Dakota Department of Health, the current number of hospitalizations in the state sits at 423. That’s the highest it’s been since December of 2020. Sanford Health Chief Physician Dr. Jeremy Cauwels said if nothing changes on the current trend of cases, the state and the surrounding area are in for a long month ahead.

“Between January 1st and February 28th, we are going to see a third of the people in the state of South Dakota and the surrounding states get affected by this illness.” said Cauwels.

That continued high case load will only place additional stress on hospitals and healthcare workers. Cauwels said right now, Sanford is in the process of encouraging their employees to get boosted and make sure they’re ready for more patients.

“We’re encouraging all of my co-workers, all of the other people who work at Sanford to get boosted right now as well. Because we believe it will protect them, and make sure that we have enough people around to take care of all of the people that do get sick in the next month.” said Cauwels.

Cauwels also said other businesses and organizations should encourage their employees to get a booster as well.

“Employers have to recognize that there’s going to be a lot of people in their workforce taking five days off in the next month, if they don’t have their teams boosted going into this.”

Cauwels said while other preventative steps like wearing a mask and isolating when sick are important, he said getting a booster is the best way to fight against severe cases of COVID-19. He said that this effort to not overload hospitals and healthcare workers needs support from the public, and that people who haven’t yet been vaccinated or got a booster should do so soon.

“But I can tell you that the next month is going to be the most critical time to determine whether or not you spend your days with COVID on your couch, or in one of our hospital beds.”

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