Cases surging across Midwest
With the addition of 457 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Monument Health, Dr. Shankar Kurra said if the models hold, he does not expect to see a huge increase in hospital admission, about 30 a day at the peak.
According to Kurra, Monument Health saw about 20 cases Friday, and four out of the 48 ICU beds are in use, though Kurra said the hospital is prepared if there is a surge.
A key concern is keeping caregivers safe and healthy, so they are able to help the community. Additionally, people are encouraged to get a flu vaccine to manage hospital capacity.
South Dakota and the rest of the Midwest are seeing a spread of cases throughout.
“We are very clearly in a rising number of cases, meaning that the pandemic has taken a stronghold– we have an epidemic proportion of cases across the entire Midwest,” said Kurra. “States are only artificial boundaries, but the entire Midwest– Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin– we’re seeing a large number of these cases. What that suggests to us, epidemiologically speaking, is we need to observe more of these measures to stop the spread. All we have against the disease are what we call non-pharmaceutical interventions. In other words, we don’t have a vaccine, we don’t have an absolute treatment, but what we can do is prevent the spread.”
Kurra stressed the importance of wearing a mask when in public — citing a study from Cambridge University that said if more than 50% of people wear a cloth face covering, the rate of spread can be reduced to less than one.