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Published on April 15, 2020

Avera Joins in Sending Message to Continue Social Distancing – It’s Working

Avera and other South Dakota health systems took part in a media briefing today where Gov. Kristi Noem announced that residents are “flattening the curve.”

“We have encouraging news. Our projections look better, but we are still staying committed to the plan we’ve had in action,” Noem said, calling upon South Dakotans to keep doing what they’ve been doing to prevent COVID-19 spread over the past several weeks.

Since the governor last reported projections of South Dakota’s peak in COVID-19 hospitalizations around two weeks ago, the expected peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations has been cut in half from around 5,000 to 2,500. This peak is still expected mid-June.

Sioux Falls’ peak has been decreased to 1,200 to 1,300 hospitalizations, and that peak is now expected in mid-May.

“We are bending the curve,” Noem said. “Social distancing is making a difference.”

The state and its health systems continue to work together to prepare for the worst case scenario so that hospitals can handle the surge of patients that will come.

“There’s an amazing difference we’ve been able to make in this state through social distancing. While we do not yet have a vaccine for this virus, what we do have is ourselves, our neighbors and our businesses doing what we can and this has made the difference as to whether we would be able to handle the surge of patients or not,” said David Basel, MD, Vice President for Clinical Quality for Avera Medical Group.

Basel underscored Gov. Noem’s recommendations that state and area residents continue with these measures:

  • Practice social distancing
  • Do not host or attend gatherings of more than 10 people
  • Work from home if you are able
  • Especially avoid contact with anyone who is sick
  • Stay home when you are sick except to get medical care
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you cannot wash
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

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