Sanford Health, Avera Health changing surgery schedules to handle rise in COVID cases

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. ( — Sanford Health and Avera Health are changing some elective surgery schedules to better handle the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Sanford Chief Medical Officer, Mike Wilde, says that for the time period of October 19-23, Sanford facilities will not be adding additional elective surgery cases that require an overnight stay.

“Cases currently scheduled will proceed as scheduled. We will continue to work daily and update staff and patients to accommodate surgical needs after Oct. 23.”

Wilde says Sanford continues to see large numbers of patients seeking care at all its facilities. The decision to temporarily suspend some elective surgeries was made after discussions with surgical leaders as part of Sanford’s surge plan.

Avera Health is relocating some elective surgeries to free up staff to increase surge capacity.

“This change isn’t immediate and will happen next week. Less than 5% of surgeries needed to be postponed, so the team did a great job of accommodating those that need care. We sincerely thank our patients and our staff for granting us grace during this unique time,” says Avera Director of Media Relations, Cale Feller.

Both health systems continue to appeal to the public to wear face masks and practice social distancing to slow community spread.

New COVID cases have been steadily rising for weeks now in the Dakotas and in other parts of the Midwest.

The South Dakota Department of Health continues to report that hospitals have the capacity to handle the current levels of the disease.