A group of organizations in South Dakota have joined to recommend and promote masking as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge throughout the state and wider region.
Behind a simple message of “Mask Up South Dakota” and a hash tag of #MaskUpSoDak, these organizations include the South Dakota State Medical Association (SDSMA), Monument Health based in Rapid City, Avera Health and Sanford Health based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota Nurses Association (SDNA), South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO), South Dakota Municipal League, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, Associated School Boards of South Dakota, and School Administrators of South Dakota and the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board.
This group supports keeping South Dakota open, and the safest way to do that is to practice good hygiene, social distancing and wearing masks. This group is not seeking a mask mandate from government, but rather is calling on South Dakotans to help manage health care resources and workforce so our state’s health systems can help those who need to be hospitalized.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has affirmed that wearing masks can help communities slow the spread of COVID-19 when worn consistently and correctly by a majority of people in public settings. Masks are most effective when used along with other preventive measures, including social distancing, frequent handwashing, and cleaning and disinfecting.
According to South Dakota Department of Health data, the number of active cases, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing across the state and wider region. There are currently over 350 hospitalizations in South Dakota and over 11,000 active cases. To date, there have been 375 deaths due to the virus. Increased cases and hospitalizations place a greater burden on health care facilities and health care workers, and is taking a toll on individuals, families and work places.
This group is asking South Dakota residents for a renewed and greater commitment to follow a list of preventive practices recommended by the CDC:
• Wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose when around others.
• Practice social distancing – put six feet of space (two arm lengths) between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
• Practice good hand hygiene – wash hands often and use hand sanitizer.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
• Stay home when you’re sick or have been exposed to the virus (except to get medical care).
• Cover your cough and sneezes.
• Monitor your health daily and watch for symptoms such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.