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‘Mask up, South Dakota:’ 12 state medical associations, healthcare systems call for better masking

Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 11:41 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Mask up, South Dakota.

Tuesday, South Dakota’s three major healthcare systems want South Dakotans to take mask-wearing and social distancing more seriously.

Avera Health, Sanford Health and Monument Health along with nine other medical associations in the state, launched the #MaskUpSoDak campaign to promote the simple message.

“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 workplaces,” the press release says.

However, the group doesn’t want a government-enforced mask mandate. Rather, the healthcare systems want South Dakotans to practice good hygiene, social distancing and wearing masks. Doing this will help manage health care resources and workforce so our state’s health systems can help those who need to be hospitalized.

Wearing a mask helps communities slow the spread of COVID-19 when worn consistently and correctly by a majority of people in public settings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have increased in the state this month. There are more than 350 hospitalizations in South Dakota and more than 11,000 active cases. To date, there have been 375 deaths due to the virus, according to the South Dakota Department of Health data.

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.

All organizations involved in #MaskUpSoDak 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.

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