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South Dakota cities prepare for COVID-19

STURGIS, S.D. – Cities and towns across South Dakota are putting into place preparations and plans should COVID-19 become a major problem.

In Sturgis, Mayor Mark Carstensen says things continue as normal for now. He says the virus has not been reported in Sturgis but encourages city residents to practice good hygiene measures and stay home if they feel ill.

The city of Spearfish is also putting a plan in place should the virus become a problem there.

“Spearfish is committed to the wellbeing of its citizens,” Mayor Dana Boke said. “We are all in this together and will continue to adapt to the conditions to best serve the health, safety, and wellbeing of our community.”

The City encourages all citizens to take precautions to protect their wellbeing and echoes the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) recommendations for everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases.

The City asks the public to assist in the prevention efforts by utilizing electronic services available, such as paying utility bills online versus entering City Hall, and by considering the wellbeing of their neighbors and staying home from public facilities like City Hall, Spearfish Rec Center, Grace Balloch Memorial Library, etc., if they have symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

Those who are experiencing symptoms are directed to call their healthcare provider before going to a clinic or hospital – even if they already have an appointment.

This will help the healthcare provider’s office to take steps to keep others from getting infected or exposed.

Both Sturgis and Spearfish say they remain committed to providing criticals services such as police, fire and ems should an outbreak occur.

In Sioux Falls, Mayor Paul TenHaken declared a state of emergency in the city Thursday evening.

According to Jill Franken, the City Department of Health Director, there are three positive cases in Minnehaha County.

“It’s critical that we slow and spread out or flatten the curve of COVID-19. That right now is our number one priority,” Mayor TenHaken said. “We’re in a unique position right now, where we can be proactive on the slowing of the spread so we’re taking some measures to hopefully do that.”

The city will be limiting, as well as cancelling, events at city-owned facilities for the next 14 days.

He says they will revist the situation after that 14 day period.

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