More Than 100 People Potentially Exposed to COVID-19 in Rapid City Cancer Care Unit

Mar 25, 2020

Credit fda.gov

Roughly 100 high-risk cancer patients and 12 healthcare providers may have been exposed to COVID-19 in Rapid City.

A Monument Health caregiver tested positive for the disease after recently traveling outside of the state. 

The Meade County resident’s test result came back positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Monument Health President and CEO Paulette Davidson says the health system immediately enacted protocol to protect their employees and patients.  

"We are being very careful to identify anyone who may have possibly been exposed. We think it’s around 10 caregivers, two physicians, and potentially 100 patients.”

Davidson says Monument provided that list to the state Department of Health, which is reaching out to those individuals.

Davidson briefly addressed Monument’s travel policy at this time:

“There isn’t a policy for leaving the Black Hills. However, there are policies for leaving the country.”

The caregiver who tested positive did travel recently, but only within the United States.

Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender says this level of possible exposure is likely to continue if people don’t take the virus seriously.

“That’s an unfortunate but a very predictable scenario. It’s not time to go on vacation. It’s not time to even go across the state line. It’s time to get in your bubble, take care of you and yours. And just write these things on your door: to stay 6 feet away from human beings and wash your hands. The same thing you tell your two-year olds when you’re trying to teach them good habits: wash your hands. Often.”

The Rapid City Council is voting on Friday whether to enact an ordinance closing many non-essential businesses.  

Monument Health closed its hospitals and clinics to visitors starting Wednesday morning, with limited exceptions.