State’s first coronavirus cases suspected

The state’s Public Health Laboratory in Pierre has confirmed the first presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in South Dakota.
“The cases are travel- related. While we wait for the CDC to conduct their confirmatory testing, the Department of Health staff is working to identify additional people who came in close contact with these individuals to decrease the spread of illness,” Gov Kristi Noem said Tuesday. “Our team has been preparing for weeks, and I am confident we have the right people in place to address this fluid situation. Without panicking, I encourage all South Dakotans to take this seriously; now is the time to prepare and to stay informed.”
Although Monument Health Custer Hospital and Clinic has not seen any cases of COVID-19, the health care system is taking the coronavirus seriously and actively preparing for a possible outbreak in our region, hospital officials said.
“I know there is concern about the virus, but it’s important that we don’t panic,” said Dr. Lisa Brown, M.D., community medical director at Monument Health Custer Hospital and Clinic. “The best protection from the virus — any virus — is to practice good hand hygiene, keep surfaces clean, cover your coughs and sneezes, and stay home if you’re sick. That’s always good advice.” 
Monument Health has a process in place to quickly identify and isolate any person under investigation (PUI) based on travel history, symptoms and other factors. Patients who call or walk in at Monument Health Custer Clinic and Urgent Care Services will be asked questions to determine their COVID-19 risk. If the patient is deemed at risk, Monument Health will treat them while protecting caregivers and other patients.
In more than 80 percent of cases, COVID-19 symptoms are mild, especially for patients who are otherwise healthy. These patients usually recover at home. However, Brown added, we all need to take steps to stop the spread of the disease. 
“Even though the illness might be relatively mild for most of us, we owe it to the more vulnerable members of our communities to keep it from spreading,” she said.
Good sources of updated local information may be found at / or
Mike Carter, director of emergency services for Custer County, said, in addition to these precautionary procedures, officials  encourage the public to follow the recommendations of maintaining an in-house inventory that would allow a minimum of 72-hour self-reliance within the home. This inventory should include., but not be limited to, pharmaceuticals, food and available sanitary supplies.
“We live in a rural setting and as such have limited vendors for these items. What we are trying to accomplish through this recommendation, is to limit the phenomenon of panic buying that strips store  shelves of all their inventory,” Carter said. “We need to be a part of the solution when it comes to assisting with a continued supply chain and practice common sense preparation in place of the panic buying we are starting to see  on a national level.”

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