Governor Kristi Noem is activating the National Guard to help hospitals respond to cases of COVID-19. The guard will build supplemental medical facilities in Sioux Falls and Rapid City before expanding to other parts of the state.
The governor says efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus have provided more time to prepare for a surge of potential cases. But ultimately the state will need more hospital beds.
“We will be releasing the details of what units will be serving. The planners and a lot of engineers are helping in the emergency operations center already. And we’ll be pulling more of their skilled individuals for setting up these hospitals in Rapid City and Sioux falls in the coming days.”
Each supplemental facility will provide 100 beds, but Noem says there’s more to increasing hospital capacity.
“We need to stand up a specific number of ICU beds, a specific number of beds that have ventilator capacity in the room to do that. And we also are gonna be working very hard to make sure our COVID 19 positive patients are not gonna be intermingled with other patients who have other health needs.”
The Department of Health is working with the state’s healthcare systems to be sure they’re prepared for a surge.
“We want them not to just be able to meet our projected capacity but to be over prepared to take care of those who might need some healthcare in the future dealing with this virus.”
The governor says she will share more details on projected infection and death rates on Friday.