Rapid City Mayor Says Goal is Maintaining Hospital Capacity

Apr 6, 2020

File Photo
Credit Lee Strubinger / SDPB

Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender is encouraged that the state’s three major healthcare systems support state data on the spread of coronavirus. 

Representatives from Sanford, Avera, and Monument Health joined Governor Noem last week when she shared the state’s projections. The numbers include how many ICU beds and ventilators the state will need when it reaches peak infection rates.

On SDPB’s In the Moment program, Allender says having a unified model is important in a state known for individuality.

“The number one goal in South Dakota right now relative to this disease should be preventing our hospital systems from being overrun,” he says. 

Allender says fatality rates will rise if the hospital system is overwhelmed. 

“Not only from COVID-19 but from things that wouldn’t necessarily have to be in that higher fatality rate. You know, the typical cardiac conditions and breathing problems and cancer and all kinds of things that are pretty well mitigated normally."

Allender continues to push for a statewide public health emergency declaration to give local authorities more guidance. He agrees with the governor that primary responsibility for personal safety falls to individuals.