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Sioux Falls area health systems confirm COVID-19 cases

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Avera, Sanford Health and the South Dakota Department of Health confirm, as Gov. Kristi Noem has announced, South Dakota’s first presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the state. These cases were all travel related.

Avera confirms that two South Dakota patients from Pennington and Davison counties tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) at an Avera facility. One of those patients has died; this patient had underlying medical conditions.

Sanford confirms that one patient has tested positive at a Sanford location in Minnehaha County.

Both health systems are working in concert with the South Dakota Department of Health and are taking steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect employees, other patients and visitors. This includes protective gear for staff and isolation of patients when COVID-19 is suspected.

It’s important for the public to understand that COVID-19 cases range from very mild, including some with no reported symptoms, to severe. There are cases that have resulted in death. Not everyone who is exposed to this virus will experience serious or life-threatening illness, in fact, the majority of cases are mild. Older people or people of all ages with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes, seem to be at higher risk of developing serious illness.

Not everyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 will need to be hospitalized. About 80% of patients who have COVID-19 can be treated at home. The rate of patients who experience serious complications is only slightly higher than that of seasonal flu.

Typical symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Anyone who is experiencing difficulty breathing or an extremely high temperature should seek medical help immediately.

If you feel you might have COVID-19, please call (by phone) your regular clinic – do not come in person to the clinic in order to protect staff and other patients.

When you call your clinic, health care professionals will determine if you need testing.

Here’s how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19:

· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

· Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

· Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

· If you are sick, limit close contact with others as much as possible.

· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 44 hospitals, 1,400 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries. Nearly $1 billion in gifts from philanthropist Denny Sanford have transformed how Sanford Health improves the human condition. For information, visit or Sanford Health News.

About Avera

The Avera Health system has over 18,000 employees and physicians, serving more than 300 locations and 100 communities in a five-state region. Our ministry, our people and our superior value distinguish Avera. We carry on the health care legacy of the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters, delivering care in an environment guided by our values of compassion, hospitality and stewardship. For more information about Avera, see our website at

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