As holiday gatherings approach, South Dakota hospitals are getting nervous
South Dakota’s largest hospital system warned on Wednesday that they were nervous and delayed medical services as the state’s hospitals were crowded with the largest number of COVID-19 patients since the beginning of this year.
“We are still worried that as our hospitals are full of COVID-19 patients, we will not be able to provide timely, high-quality care to patients with other medical needs,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mike Wilde. Sanford Health Officer.
Officials from Sanford, Avera Medical Group and Sioux Falls delivered speeches at a press conference on Wednesday, urging people to get vaccinated and take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus during holiday gatherings. Since last winter, the state has seen a more severe virus surge, when hundreds of people died.
“We just stepped back, climbed, climbed, climbed again,” said Dr. David Basel, vice president of clinical quality at Avera.
According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, one in 351 people in the state tested positive for the virus in the past week. Health officials reported eight new deaths on Wednesday. Although the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital dropped slightly to 271, the number of hospitalizations on Tuesday was the highest in nearly a year.
Basel described how his wife, who worked as a doctor in the intensive care unit, “saw more death and pain last year than she saw in her 20-year career.”
Basel said Avera postponed non-urgent medical procedures until spring. “We just don’t have beds,” he added.
Although Sanford did not cancel the medical procedure, Wilde said the situation is changing every day.
Officials urge people to get vaccinated, including booster shots, and wear masks in crowded indoor places.
“Think about what we can do to save lives,” said Dr. Charles Chima, director of public health at Sioux Falls. “What can we do to keep this holiday safe.”