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Health systems give update on COVID-19 in South Dakota following drop in active cases

Sioux Falls’ two major healthcare systems say the state is coming down from it’s peak of COVID-19 cases from last month.
Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 8:31 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Sioux Falls’ two major healthcare systems say the state is coming down from it’s peak of COVID-19 cases from last month, and there’s some developments in the near future that will help protect even more people from the virus. However, they’re still cautioning that any amount of people letting down their guard now could easily trigger more cases.

Both Avera Health and Sanford Health say the drop in active cases over the past couple of weeks is a good sign as they recover from a rush of patients. Avera Medical Group Vice President for Clinical Quality, Dr. David Basel, said while there’s plenty of reason for caution, things are better at the moment.

“We’re still considerably higher than at any point in 2021. And so, things have leveled off and pulled back a little bit, and certainly look better than they did a couple of weeks ago.” said Basel.

There’s also growing optimism that Pfizer’s vaccine will soon be available for children as young as six months old, with the vaccine beginning the emergency authorization process next week.

“There’s a several step process. But maybe the third week of February, we could see the age range drop again for vaccinations. And I know that’s one of the more common questions I get asked by parents.” said Basel.

“We’ll have, certainly, people lined up right away. And that’s wonderful. We certainly want to encourage that. And I think the kids, obviously at that age, will be influenced by their parents’ choices.” said Sanford Health Vice President Medial Officer Dr. Mike Wilde.

Mental health continues to have a presence as the pandemic continues. Both Avera Health and Sanford Health say they’ve seen higher levels of people reaching out for help since the pandemic began, and those requests and patients remain high nearly two years later.

“Right now, we’re in the midst of building an addition on to the Avera Behavioral Hospital, because of that significant demand. And unfortunately it’s a real need, and we’ll probably fill that the day it opens.” said Basel.

They’re urging people to get vaccinated and boosted if not already, and to not be afraid to reach out for help with mental health, as that impacts their staff as well.

“If you have questions, issues, concerns, reach out. Because we’re seeing some fairly significant impact in our hospital currently with our staff. And we really want to try to protect those who are trying to help you.” said Wilde.

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