Sioux Falls officials say city is prepared for coronavirus

Published: Mar. 10, 2020 at 10:41 PM CDT
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Coronavirus has made its way into South Dakota and it is all hands on deck to stop the spread of the disease.

At a press conference Tuesday evening, city officials took the podium to ensure the people of Sioux Falls that the city is prepared to fight any widespread outbreak within the community.

"We have actually hosted a number of meetings with the city, with community response agencies, to discuss planning efforts and the implementation of a non-pharmaceutical intervention," Sioux Falls Director of Health Jill Franken said.

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken says the city has been keeping up to date with the federal and state government on a daily basis.

"Tomorrow, I'm personally going to be on a conference call with the White House with several other mayors from around the country, just to get a briefing from them on this," TenHaken said.

Those partners mentioned by the mayor include the South Dakota Department of Health, Avera Medical Group, and Sanford Health.

"We do this everyday, this is what your health system is designed to do, we prepare for this stuff," Sanford Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allison Suttle said. "We are constantly preparing, planning, practicing for just these things."

Avera Health Chief Medical and Innovation Officer Dr. David Erickson says it is important for the public to understand that COVID-19 cases range from very mild to severe.

"Some come with no reported symptoms, and there are other cases that have resulted in death," Erickson said.

Experts say the most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe is practice preventative measures.

Wash your hands regularly, use hand sanitizer, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, keep your hands off your face, and if you can... it may be best just to stay home.

"You might want to consider avoiding large crowds, big crowds of individuals where you could be exposed to surfaces and others that are sick" Suttle said. "Especially if you have chronic conditions, multiple chronic conditions, or if you are older."

I'm told one important thing to remember is not to panic. If you do show signs of being sick, stay home.

Schedule an appointment with your local health provider if you're experiencing a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.