Avera St. Mary’s chief medical officer encouraging mask usage

PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) – Avera St. Mary’s Hospital and the Avera Pierre Clinic are one week into implementing surge measures because of an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients needing treatment.

President and Chief Medical Officer for Avera St. Mary’s Dr. Mikel Holland says they need the public to continue taking precautions.

Holland says staff are doing a great job.

Holland says typically as the state sees the positive number of COVID-19 tests increase, hospitalizations increase in the one to two weeks following.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has affirmed wearing masks can help communities slow the spread of COVID-19 when worn consistently and correctly by a majority of people in public settings. Masks are most effective when used along with other preventive measures such as social distancing, frequent hand washing and cleaning and disinfecting.

Here’s what experts recommend to people asking what they can do to help:

  • Wear a mask and encourage your family and friends to do the same.
  • Practice social distancing – do not stand or sit closer than 6 feet from someone else for longer than 15 minutes.
  • Practice good hand hygiene – wash hands often and use hand sanitizer.
  • Sanitize frequently touched surfaces.
  • Stay home when you’re sick and keep your children home when they are sick.
  • Donate plasma. If you have had COVID-19 and have recovered, you can donate plasma to help people who are currently sick.