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The rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic is having a broad impact on Sioux Falls-area businesses and events. This page will be updated frequently, so check back often for the latest developments. If your business has information that needs to be communicated to the public, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The number of COVID-19 cases in South Dakota showed its largest one-day increase, adding 36 cases as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, for a total of 165. That includes 14 new cases in Minnehaha County, for a total of 54, and six new cases in Lincoln County, for a total of 17. There have been 12 people in Minnehaha County who have recovered and one in Lincoln.
The state total also includes 57 people who have recovered and two deaths. There have been 17 people hospitalized, an increase of five from the previous day, and there have been 4,217 negative tests statewide, which is an increase of about 300 from Wednesday’s report.
The number of COVID-19 cases in South Dakota has increased to 129, up 21 from Tuesday’s report. That includes nine new cases in Minnehaha County, for a total of 40, and six new cases in Lincoln County, for a total of 11. There have been 11 people in Minnehaha who have recovered and one in Lincoln.
The state total also includes 51 people who have recovered and two deaths. There are 12 people hospitalized, and there have been 3,903 negative tests statewide, which is an increase of about 300 from Tuesday’s report.
The Sioux Falls City Council will meet at 4 p.m. today to consider an extension of the city’s ordinance by two weeks limiting patrons to 10 or fewer in certain businesses.
The city also is looking at how many cases it has per capita compared to other cities. In Minnehaha and Lincoln counties combined, there are 13.18 cases per 100,000 people compared with 11 in Fargo, 20 in Omaha and six in Tallahassee, Fla. In Florida, there were some extensive mitigation efforts that Sioux Falls is studying, health director Jill Franken said, adding future restrictions might be coming.
“They have a curfew in place,” Franken said of Tallahassee. “Things that we’ve seen certainly are stay-at-home ordinances or requirements. Those are some things we’ll have to take into consideration of what we would be saying is the best recommendation for our community. We’ve done quite a bit already. There’s just a couple more things that possibly could get us to hunker down a little bit more, but those are decisions we’ll be making in the next couple days and bringing to the City Council.”
If you are unemployed and claiming benefits, you need to put in that request every week.
The Department of Labor and Regulation is reminding insurance claimants to request a weekly payment by calling 605-626-3212 after 6 p.m. or by filing online at RAclaims.sd.gov anytime.
Benefits are not automatically paid out, even though the work search requirement is currently waived.
“The claim week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday at midnight,” department Secretary Marcia Hultman said. “Your weekly request for payment will be filed for the previous week, and you cannot file for the week until it is over.”
Video tutorials have been created on the weekly request process and on other quick links and options available to a claimant when logged in, such as updating addresses or changing payment methods. Visit https://bit.ly/UIpayment for these videos and more.
To ensure benefits are not denied, be sure to file a weekly request for payment in a timely manner. Claimants have seven days from the end of the week to file for the previous week. All weekly requests for payment are recorded in central time.
If a claimant does not file a weekly request for payment within that one-week filing time, call customer service at 605-626-2452. To cancel a claim, email your name and last four digits of your Social Security number to CancelRA@state.sd.us.
Avera is temporarily changing its clinic practices to protect patients and employees, and conserve resources during the COVID-19 outbreak, the health system said in a statement.
Patients might have more appointments scheduled as virtual visits instead of in-person visits, unless the need is urgent or emergent. Virtual visits are face-to-face visits via smartphone, tablet or computer. If any medications are needed, they can be prescribed via the virtual visit. Outreach visits may be done via virtual visits as well. As Avera increases its capacity for virtual visits, more and more providers across the Avera system will be providing them.
“We are grateful to have technology in place to allow care to take place virtually, when possible, during the COVID-19 crisis. We are continually adding to the number of our providers who are set up to offer virtual care,” said Dr. Kevin Post, chief medical officer for Avera Medical Group.
Adult annual wellness visits are being postponed or scheduled for a later date. Avera is continuing to schedule well-child visits for children younger than 2 to stay up-to-date with their immunizations.
Clinics are separating care by timeframe or location to isolate patients with possible illness due to COVID-19 from patients who do not have symptoms of the virus.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever over 100 degrees, cough and shortness of breath. People who think they might have the virus are asked to call their clinic at 877-282-8372 before visiting the clinic in person.
Patients with upper respiratory symptoms who are going to be seen in a clinic are asked to report these symptoms in advance by phone. Not reporting these symptoms puts health care workers at risk, Avera said.
If exposed, they may need to be in isolation and are unable to care for patients for weeks. In Minnesota for example, the Department of Health reports that one in five COVID-19 cases are health care workers. “We are counting on our patients to help us keep these workers safe,” Post said.
“We want patients to know that we are still here to address their health needs. Everything we are doing is to keep patients and employees safe, while conserving resources for critical needs such heart attacks, accidents and severe cases of COVID-19.”
Avera is continuing to reschedule elective outpatient procedures. Patients impacted will be contacted by phone or letter. The health system’s facilities continue to allow no visitors in clinics, hospitals and nursing homes, with exceptions made for end-of-life, maternity and pediatric care. Avera encourages other ways to keep in touch including phone calls, texts and video chat.
The number of COVID-19 cases in South Dakota has increased to 108, a rise of seven from Monday’s report. That includes three new cases in Minnehaha County, for a total of 31, and one new case in Lincoln County, for a total of five. The state total also includes 44 people who have recovered and one death. There are 12 people hospitalized, and there have been 3,609 negative tests statewide.
The city of Sioux Falls will take steps to eliminate gatherings in its parks after people failed to follow social distancing regulations. That includes removing basketball rims and closing playgrounds, dog parks and athletic fields. The recreation trail will remain open at this point.
“I know there’s some serious cabin fever,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said. “It’s brought a flurry of activity to our parks.”
You can still walk in the parks and bring dogs to parks.
The April 14 city and school board election will be moved to a future date in June.
“We want to make sure there’s a safe and trustworthy outcome to that election,” TenHaken said.
The city and health systems continue to model and are looking at experiences from cities of similar density, public health director Jill Franken said.
She predicted additional actions might need to be taken, and the Board of Health and City Council would need to approve them.
“We need to do our part as a community to make sure that when we need the care it’s there for us,” Franken said.
South Dakota has received a shipment of 10 to 15 rapid-test platforms that will allow people to get instant results of their COVID-19 tests.
“We will put those in populations where we can focus on stopping hot spots,” Gov. Kristi Noem said in her March 31 news briefing. Knowing results quicker will allow those who are ill to be isolated quicker to protect more people, she said.
The state also received a shipment of medical supplies Monday from the Strategic National Stockpile.
South Dakota was the last state to reach the threshold of 100 positive cases, which it did on Sunday, Noem said. It ranks 15th in the nation in the percentage of the population being tested and is 45th in the number of positive cases, also by the percentage of population.
The state’s COVID-19 website, covid.sd.gov, has been revamped, providing a more organized display of information, Noem said. The website has received 1.6 million hits since its inception.
A small-business loan fund approved by the Legislature on its final day Monday is intended to provide immediate relief, the governor said. “We anticipate that will go out quicker than federal relief.”
Sanford Health chief administrative officer Bill Gassen talked about how the health system is supporting its workers and planning for a surge in patients.
The Helpline Center and Avera have come together to create a 24-hour hotline for people dealing with stress and anxiety because of COVID-19.
People in South Dakota can call 211 to reach the Helpline, a call center that refers people to community resources and assists with crisis situations, including suicidal thoughts.
If the need is beyond the typical scope of Helpline staff, they can connect the caller directly to an outpatient Avera counselor. During evening, night and weekend hours, calls will be directed to the behavioral health team at Avera eCARE.
“Our goal was to use existing resources, including the 211 Helpline and the trained and available professionals at Avera, to help serve individuals who are experiencing stress and anxiety during this challenging time. We appreciate the partnership of Avera to help make this happen,” said Janet Kittams, CEO of the Helpline Center.
Avera counselors are trained to offer in-the-moment help such as relaxation steps and other evidence-based practices to address stress and anxiety, said Hiedi Roberts, outpatient behavioral health services manager.
“If the need is ongoing, we can get the caller lined up with the level of services they need,” she said. “If you are experiencing stress and anxiety, you are not alone. Please reach out for help.”
The number of COVID-19 cases in South Dakota has increased to 101, a rise of 11 from Sunday’s report. That includes three new cases in Minnehaha County, for a total of 28, and no new cases in Lincoln County, which stands at four. The state total also includes 34 people who have recovered and one death. There have been 3,478 negative tests statewide.
Mayor Paul TenHaken is calling on small-business owners to learn more about the options provided in the CARES Act that passed Congress late last week.
“There’s a lot to unpack from that bill, but the cornerstone of that bill is the payroll protection program that will allow small businesses of 500 employees or less to keep their employees on their payroll,” he said.
“I would tell any business owner out there if you have a question about the CARES Act or the payroll protection program, talk to your bank.”
TenHaken acknowledged there were more cases reported in the Sioux Falls area and that is expected to become “the new normal.” The goal continues to be to spread out cases so the hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.
“The measures we’re taking continue to put us in a good spot,” he said.
The city is continuing to work with health systems to attempt to model what’s ahead. The supply of personal protective equipment and devices such as ventilators is enough that “we continue to feel confident about where we sit in all those areas,” he said.
“We’re really looking at the data modeling … to determine if and when our surge comes … what we want is a slower, more well-rounded surge.”
Parks continue to be open, and the city has had reports of some gatherings that don’t comply with CDC guidelines, such as basketball games, he said.
“We’re looking at that and determining if we have to be more heavy-handed,” he said. “The parks are the one outlet for a lot of people right now, so we’ll be pretty lenient with our parks right now so people can continue to get out.”
TenHaken also called on city residents to turn on lights and stand outside from 9 to 9:15 tonight with lit-up cellphones, lanterns and other objects to “light up the night” while drones capture the footage.
South Dakota’s COVID-19 cases took their biggest one-day jump since the pandemic began, adding 22 positive tests for a total of 90. That includes four additional cases in Minnehaha County, for a total of 25, and one new case in Lincoln County, for a total of four. The state total also includes 29 people who have recovered and one death. There have been 3,127 negative tests, which also showed a big jump from Saturday when it was 2,592 negative tests.
Sioux Area Metro will limit its routes to nine people on the bus at once, plus the driver.
The city does not have the authority to constitute what an essential ride is, Mayor Paul TenHaken said.
“We’re just doing our part to limit the ridership to keep people safe on the bus,” he said.
After closing for a day to take time to re-evaluate its plan to stay open, Great Shots announced March 27 that it was suspending regular operations until further notice because of the ongoing health crisis. “We look forward to seeing you again when the time is right.”
The Sioux Falls City Council has voted to implement an ordinance that restricts certain businesses to 10 or fewer patrons at one time.
Those businesses include a bar, restaurant, brewery, cafe, casino, coffee shop, recreational or athletic facility, health club or entertainment venue.
The ordinance is in effect until April 8. It might be extended, changed or rescinded, city health director Jill Franken said.
Businesses that do not comply will face a Class 2 misdemeanor, which is publishable by a maximum 30 days in jail and $500 fine as well as potential loss of applicable licenses.
South Dakota is looking for medical and non-medical volunteers to help with the response to COVID-19.
It’s being coordinated by the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers for South Dakota, an electronic registration system and database of local, regional and statewide volunteer programs that want to assist public health and health care systems during an event or disaster.
Gov. Kristi Noem has issued an executive order to provide guidance to communities, businesses and health care organizations that includes limiting restaurant and bar service to carryout and delivery only.
Noem said the state believes community spread of COVID-19 exists in Beadle, Hughes and Lyman counties. That includes a case in the South Dakota Women’s Prison in Pierre.
“This is what South Dakotans should do. It is direction on doing the right thing. I want to make sure we’re all on the same page,” said Noem, who described the guidance as setting a baseline for the state.
“If communities leaders want to go above and beyond that, that is a decision they can make together,” Noem said. “We need to use facts. We need to use science. We need to use data.”
Health care organizations also were directed to forego elective procedures to conserve personal protective equipment.
In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, most city-owned facilities will be closed to public access effective at noon March 19. This closure will remain in effect through March 30.
City Center and City Hall join the list of previously closed city facilities for public access. Carnegie Town Hall will close to the public except for public meetings. Previously scheduled public meetings and bid letting planned for City Hall or City Center will be relocated to Carnegie Town Hall.
Public access to Falls Community Health, the Law Enforcement Center, fire stations, public golf courses and the mayor’s office at City Hall will remain open.
“The city is committed to maintaining the business operations and essential services while making efforts to protect the health of city employees and slow the spread of COVID-19,” the city said in a statement. “City staff will continue to work during this time while exercising CDC guidelines for social distancing and cleaning.”
The public can continue to access various services that the city provides online and over the phone. Office contact information is available at siouxfalls.org.
The Western Mall remains open for customers but has been closed to walkers. The mall recommends contacting individual businesses to check on hours of operation.
The rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic is having a broad impact on Sioux Falls-area businesses and events. This page will be updated frequently, so check back often for the latest developments.