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Sioux Falls hospitals ask residents to take COVID seriously, helping exhausted staff

The City of Sioux Falls and its regional hospitals are asking residents to take COVID-19 more seriously. They say the virus continues to put greater pressure on the city’s health systems.

Avera and Sanford health officials and Sioux Falls’ public health director gathered Wednesday to update residents on coronavirus' current impact on the community.

Sioux Falls health officials say the hospitals’ ability to care for patients is being limited by the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Dr. David Basel is the vice president of clinical quality with Avera Health. He says the age range of those hospitalized with the disease has become much younger.

“Last year it was unusual for us to admit someone under 50. This year, it’s very common to admit someone in their twenties, even 30. And we’ve even lost children this year.”

Sanford and Avera officials anticipate hospitalization to remain high through the holiday season. They are calling on the community to escalate COVID safety measures.

Dr. Charles Chima it the public health director for the City of Sioux Falls. He says that means get vaccinated, wear a mask and keep social distance.

“More than 800,000 people in the united states have died from this disease. Think about it. These were people that were alive last year.”

The vast majority of COVID-19 patients in the intensive care units and on ventilators are among the unvaccinated.

Dr. Mike Wilde is the vice president medical officer for Sanford Health. He says getting vaccinated and taking the pandemic seriously is the best way to help hospital staff.

“It’s a group that has been working really hard – has been for a long time. And the more that people can do to help us, in terms of taking care of themselves, give us a break a little bit – that is really helpful and really encouraging.”

Daily Numbers Update

Note: The data presented is from the previous day — Tuesday updates include data from over the weekend (Saturday 1 pm CT - Monday 1 pm CT)

  • State’s death toll: 2,419 (+8 from the previous report)
    • Note: 'Death toll' indicates the number of deaths among people with COVID, but COVID may not have been the sole cause of death.
    • Deaths verifiably caused by COVID: 2,135 (updated weekly)
  • Active cases: 7,065
  • Eligable South Dakotans fully vaccinated: 54.75%
  • Vaccine boosters administered: 148,054

Hospital capacity

  • Currently hospitalized: 271 (-13)
    • Note: Currently Hospitalized numbers include COVID-19 cases and people that are in the hospital under transmission-based precautions. The number may include out-of-state cases and people.

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Healthcare Top StoriesSioux Falls, South DakotaCOVID-19
Joshua is the business and economics reporter with SDPB News.