By Kelli Bultena
Residents in Lincoln and Minnehaha County received new direction from South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem on Monday, April 6.
Executive Order 2020-13 is mandatory for Lincoln and Minnehaha County, and in part, states that to flatten the curve and slow down hospitalizations due to the spread of COVID-19, adults over the age of sixty-five (65) and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, collectively referred to as “Vulnerable Individuals,” shall stay at home or a place of residence if possible, except for vulnerable individuals to work in a critical infrastructure sector job or to conduct essential errands.
A serious underlying medical condition may include chronic lung disease, severe respiratory disorder, moderate to severe asthma, serious heart or cardiac condition, immunosuppression, diabetes, liver disease, chronic kidney disease or someone undergoing dialysis, or other condition identified by one’s medical provider.
Nothing in the Executive Order prohibits working from home, exercising outside, or farming and ranching activities. Nothing in the Order prohibits patronizing businesses or organizations that offer essential services for errands and that have complied with the recommended CDC guidelines.
The stay at home issuance is in effect for three weeks in Lincoln and Minnehaha County, until April 27, 2020.
As Governor Noem announced the Executive Order during Monday’s press conference, she also announced that schools would remain closed for the rest of the year.
As well as a state-wide Executive Order that extends the previous guidelines and restrictions and more forcefully tells businesses to limit group gatherings to 10 or fewer.
Some in the state think that the Governor should do more. More than 160 municipal and county officials have signed a letter requesting Governor Noem to declare a public health emergency; among them Lennox Mayor Tracy West, Worthing Mayor Bradley Hazuka and Tea Mayor John Lawler.
“We believe this declaration would allow more options for the Governor and our local governments who are on the front lines,” stated Yvonne Taylor, Executive Director of the SD Municipal League, which was asked to coordinate the effort among the municipalities and counties.
Noem said she reviewed the letter, but did not commit to any action.
Noem has said that the state’s rural geography justifies a different approach than the country’s major cities.
As of Tuesday, April 7 positive COVID-19 cases in the state were at 320, of those cases Lincoln County reported 27 and Minnehaha had 165.
Also in the Executive Order for Lincoln and Minnehaha County Noem states, “Vulnerable Individuals shall also take the following actions to reduce their risk of getting the disease COVID-19 as recommended by the CDC: • Wash hands often; • Take precautions every day to keep space between others (stay 6 feet away, which is about two arm lengths); • Keep away from people who are sick; • Stock up on supplies; • Clean and disinfect frequently touched services; • Avoid all cruise travel and non-essential travel; and • Call a healthcare professional with questions about underlying medical condition, COVID-19, or if you are sick.”
The order also has recommendations for coping with stress.
Governor Noem states, “By complying with this Executive Order, Vulnerable Individuals may experience increased stress and isolation. Vulnerable Individuals are encouraged to: • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting; • Take care of their body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs; • Make time to unwind and try to do other activities of enjoyment; • Connect with others and talk with trusted people about concerns and feelings; • Call a healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of daily activities for several days in a row; and • If feelings of sadness, depression, or anxiety become overwhelming, call a healthcare provider right away.”
To view the entire order, see this story online at www.lennoxnews.com.
For more information on COVID-19 in South Dakota visit covid.sd.gov or call Call South Dakota’s Information Line at 1-800-997-2880.