SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Health officials say COVID-19 is now considered community-spread in the Sioux Falls area after several new cases were confirmed in the area.
The South Dakota Department of Health Wednesday confirmed eight new cases of COVID-19 in Minnehaha County as well as Lincoln County’s first confirmed case.
Health officials say Minnehaha County's CDC coronavirus spread rating jumped from "minimal" to "substantial community spread." Lincoln County's rating is currently "minimal to moderate."
The only other county in South Dakota with a "substantial" rating is Beadle County, which also has 13 cases.
“Sioux Falls has done a remarkable job so far in its efforts to flatten the curve in our area. We cannot let up," Mayor Paul TenHaken said. "With confirmation of community spread, it is time for every single person and business owner to take this pandemic seriously and take action. The city is currently using every authority afforded to us under state law and local ordinance to protect this community. We must slow the spread to this virus to save lives and protect our neighbors,”
The Sioux Falls Board of Health will consider regulations to limit social gatherings in the City of Sioux Falls Thursday at 2:00 p.m. These regulations will follow the recommendations of Governor Noem’s recent executive order.
More: Board of Health agenda
Should the board take steps to enact regulations, the City Council would meet at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday. These meetings will be open to the public. With limitations on the size of mass gatherings, the public is encouraged to watch the meetings remotely on CityLink or at siouxfalls.org.
How to prevent the spread
Because human coronaviruses most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, the Health Department would like to remind people to take the same measures that healthcare providers recommend annually to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses.
· Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.
· Cover your coughs and sneezes to prevent others from getting sick.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
· Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
· Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.
· Stay at home if you are sick.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a health care professional recommends it. Masks are worn to protect others from the risk of getting infected.