Avera St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre activates surge plan

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

President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mikel Holland says while the number of COVID-19 patients varies daily, they continue to see a steady increase in both positive cases and people needing hospitalization.

Holland says the public can help flatten the curve.

Holland says hospital bed capacity changes on a regular basis.

The majority of people who become ill will not need to be hospitalized, but Holland says projections show the number of people needing hospital care could increase substantially by mid-month. He says the hospital and the clinic surge plan includes reducing planned surgeries and clinic appointments to allow the clinic to redeploy staff to areas of greatest need.

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

Holland says people should still come in with illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and other chronic issues. He says the health system is seeing individuals who may have delayed care for chronic illness due to circumstances from the pandemic and Avera offers virtual care whenever possible.