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Published on March 10, 2020

Sioux Falls Area Health Systems Confirm COVID-19 Cases

Avera, Sanford Health and the South Dakota Department of Health confirm, as Gov. Kristi Noem has announced, South Dakota’s first presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the state. These cases were all travel related.

Avera confirms that two South Dakota patients from Pennington and Davison counties tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) at an Avera facility. One of those patients has died; this patient had underlying medical conditions.

Sanford confirms that one patient has tested positive at a Sanford location in Minnehaha County.

Both health systems are working in concert with the South Dakota Department of Health and are taking steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect employees, other patients and visitors. This includes protective gear for staff and isolation of patients when COVID-19 is suspected.

It’s important for the public to understand that COVID-19 cases range from very mild, including some with no reported symptoms, to severe. There are cases that have resulted in death. Not everyone who is exposed to this virus will experience serious or life-threatening illness, in fact, the majority of cases are mild. Older people or people of all ages with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes, seem to be at higher risk of developing serious illness.

Not everyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 will need to be hospitalized. About 80% of patients who have COVID-19 can be treated at home. The rate of patients who experience serious complications is only slightly higher than that of seasonal flu.

Typical symptoms of COVID-19 are fever of over 100 degrees, cough and shortness of breath. Anyone who is experiencing difficulty breathing or an extremely high temperature should call their health care facility.

If you feel you might have COVID-19, please call (by phone) your regular clinic – do not come in person to the clinic in order to protect staff and other patients.

When you call your clinic, health care professionals will determine if you need testing.

Here’s how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • If you are sick, limit close contact with others as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

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