September 24, 2023


As you are well aware, the COVID-19 Virus is reeking havoc around the World. To learn more about the virus, click on novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals. Seven, including the new COVID-19, have made the jump to humans.

Just as we have in the past with the bird flu, swine flu, Ebola, zika, or regular influenza; we will follow our Pandemic Plans if we experience an outbreak. The State Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Department of Health (DOH) assist counties in maintaining a Pandemic Response Plan in the event of an outbreak. This plan is tested yearly, most notably at the Point of Distribution (POD).

State and Local Officials have regular discussions on the current status of the virus; locally, in the United States, and Worldwide. The South Dakota Healthcare Coalition is monitoring supplies at each hospital in the state. They have caches of supplies in place throughout the state, with one of the regional caches in Mitchell. Locally, Avera’s infectious disease team is strictly following CDC guidelines and meeting regularly with DOH and CDC to follow best practices as described by the CDC. Local Officials and Avera have been meeting weekly to discuss the current situation of cases in Davison County, as well as surrounding counties. We consistently monitor the surge plan, which Avera has routinely tested.

Davison County is a member of the 211 Helpline Center, which is assisting in the response to COVID-19 issue in our state. Residents can call 211 or go to for non-emergency calls, which will free up staff at the 911 Center and the local hospital and clinics.

Locally, the Department of Health is your best resource for knowing what is happening in South Dakota. An update of cases in South Dakota can be found @ COVID-19 website, which will show a breakdown of current cases, by county. Mitigation strategies can be found @ Nationally, an updated count can be found @ Worldwide, there have been confirmed cases in many countries, as well as several deaths. The number of cases continues to increase and can be found on the World Health Organization (WHO) website @

There currently is no vaccine for the Coronavirus. In the event of a major outbreak in Davison County, those affected would be quarantined. The State Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the Department of Health (DOH), Davison County Emergency Management and other local officials will work with Avera to determine the extent of exposure to healthcare workers, emergency responders, and the general public. The Governor has the authority to declare a state of emergency and the State Secretary of Health shall enforce all rules, regulations, and orders of the State Board of Health. The President declared a National Emergency on March 13, 2020. The Governor also declared a state of emergency on March 13, 2020.

Locally, County Commissioners may declare a state of emergency within the county when, in the judgment of the Commission, extraordinary measures are necessary to protect public peace, safety, and welfare. However, Commissioners have very limited ability to restrict residents or businesses. In an effort to limit person to person contact, Davison County Commissioners declared an emergency on March 14, 2020; requesting Department Supervisors/Elected Officials develop a staffing plan to allow all non-essential employees to work from home. This has since been changed and all employees are working in the office. Additional precautions have been established, such as providing desk shields, masks, thermometers, and hand sanitizing stations. All county buildings are cleaned daily and disinfected routinely; in accordance with

Each political subdivision is authorized to exercise emergency functions. Cities throughout the region may have explicit emergency powers and authorities in their municipal codes. Mayors and City Councils may declare a state of emergency within the city when, in the judgment of the Mayor and/or Councils, extraordinary measures are necessary to protect public peace, safety, and welfare. However, Mayors and Councils have very limited ability to restrict residents or businesses. The City of Mitchell declared an emergency on March 13, 2020; closing or limiting buildings/programs in the city. On March 30, 2020, the Mitchell City Council passed an ordinance under the authority pursuant to SDCL 9-29-1 and 9-31-1 for the purpose of promoting the health, safety, morals, and general welfare, of the community; resulting in the closure of on-site/on-sale patron services to select businesses. Mt. Vernon businesses self imposed partial to full closure. On March 30, 2020, the Ethan Town Council passed a resolution to close all non-essential businesses. The Mitchell Mayor rescinded the ordinance on April 28th. A full list can be found @ Mt. Vernon and Ethan businesses have re-opened.

The 2019–20 influenza season began early and currently influenza activity is very low in most parts of the country; to include South Dakota. For more on influenza & other public health issues subscribe to Epi listserv. You will receive weekly surveillance summaries of flu activity in South Dakota, and the national trends. The 2019-2020 confirmed cases are higher than any of the previous ten years; with several confirmed deaths. Successful flu vaccines reduce doctor’s visits for flu illnesses. Nationally, the CDC estimates that so far this season there have been 39-56 million flu illnesses, 410,000-740,000 hospitalizations and 24,000-62,000 deaths from the flu; which can be found @ The percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza has been above the epidemic threshold. The differences between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 can be found @

Exposure-People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should notify their supervisor, as well as follow the following guidelines. The supervisor will inform the Human Resource Department/Auditor’s Office.

What counts as close contact?

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

Stay home and monitor your health

  • Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19
  • Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19
  • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19

Symptoms-People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills (a measured temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or greater, or feel warm to the touch, or give a history of feeling feverish)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.

Testing-Avera Grassland, Sanford Health, and Mitchell Clinic are all able to collect samples for COVID-19. Testing will be prioritized and performed on those who meet CDC guidelines, which can be found at Please call ahead and schedule a test, rather than walk in the clinic and potentially expose others. If you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading, or if you have not travelled from one of those areas or have not been in close contact with someone who has and is feeling unwell, your chances of getting it are currently low. To protect yourself, limit human-to-human transmission including reducing secondary infections among close contacts and health care workers. Proper washing of hands, use of an alcohol based hand rub, and wearing a mask around others will reduce the chances of contracting any disease. Elderly and those with underlying health conditions should take additional precautions. If tested, stay away from others until your results are provided. If positive, follow the quarantine guidance below.

Quarantine-Currently, the following CDC Guidance on who should quarantine can be found @ Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick, please follow the following:

Other important links/websites are below:

Presidential Statement COVID19
FactSheet COVID19 Response
Mass Gatherings Guidance
CDC CONVID-19 website:
Sitreps page:
Johns Hopkins (case counts and deaths changing rapidly):
Link to Biological Incident Annex:
 COVID-19 Outbreak Tracker.  Kaiser Family Foundation:
EU European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.  COVID-19 site:
UK Government COVID-19 Publications:
US Department of Labor OSHA:
USA GOV International Traveler Issues for Americans:
WHO on-line course:
Community Mitigation Guidance for COVID-19 Response in the United States:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):
World Health Organization (WHO) – Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19):
Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) – COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Outbreak Resources:
DHS CISA – Corona Virus landing page: