Governor Kristi Noem says the number of COVID-19 cases in South Dakota may peak in the middle of June.
That’s based on current projections and state actions so far.
Models show the state will need 5-thousand hospital beds when COVID-19 hits its peak. The projection also estimates the state will need 1,300 ventilators. Governor Noem says they are working now to get more ventilators.
South Dakota is one of five states without a stay at home order. The other are North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Arkansas.
Noem says a blanket lockdown as in most other states, would push South Dakota’s peak infection rate back. She says the state would need to sustain those measures into October.
Noem says the longer mitigation measures are put in place, the more it will flatten the curve.
“That would mean that we would have less people infected severely at one time,” Noem says. “It would lower our peak infection rate and the population numbers, but it also pushes out the date which we would need to sustain those activities to make sure we’re getting through the virus time period it’ll spend here in South Dakota. By doing that, when you flatten that curve, you make it last longer.”
Noem says the actions taken by South Dakotans already have helped to bend the curve, and reduce the number of estimated hospitalizations.
Dr. Allison Suttle is the Chief Medical Officer for Sanford Health. She says the state’s healthcare providers have agreed on a model to help them plan into the future.
“It is just a model and it will change. It depends on all of our behaviors and the virus itself and the biology of the virus, which we have to respect,” Suttle says. “I think now, more than ever, is the time to double down on staying at home. The case numbers are rising, so staying at home is even more critical."
Dr. Suttle says that means people should plan their trips carefully and limit the times they must leave their homes. She says people should even plan means ahead and avoid going to the grocery store several times a week.