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COVID-19 Resources for South Dakota

Providing tools and resources for South Dakota patients.

It is increasingly important that we all practice good health for our physical and emotional well­being. While COVID-19 care is certainly vital, so is continuing to proactively manage chronic conditions, vaccinations, preventive care and seeing a physician when needed. When we do this, we keep South Dakotans healthy.

Don't delay care! Your physician will see you now.

Data show emergency department visits and vaccination rates significantly decreased in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.

Clinics are open and providing a safe care environment in which patients feeling comfortable is a top priority.

SDSMA encourages patients to seek care when needed.

COVID-19 Vaccination Resources

In communities with low vaccination rates, the virus can circulate more prominently. The majority of new COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations are people who are unvaccinated.

In South Dakota, 94 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations as of August 20 were among unvaccinated persons.

COVID-19 vaccination offers the greatest protection against becoming infected with the virus, including the Delta variant, and from developing severe illness. More people need to get vaccinated to prevent surges in new infections. When we have pools of unvaccinated people, the virus continues to have opportunities to evolve.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The vaccine protects against the Delta variant.

Everyone age 12 and older is eligible to get vaccinated. Doctors recommend getting vaccinated as soon as possible. If you have questions, talk with your doctor.

Vaccines train our immune system to recognize the COVID-19 virus and make cells to fight the virus. COVID-19 vaccines being used in the U.S. meet the Food and Drug Administration's rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness. Millions of COVI D-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. since December 2020. Today's success with the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 comes from decades of research that came before it. The science behind the COVID- 19 vaccines has not been rushed. In fact, these vaccines were built on decades of scientific research.

A 'breakthrough' case means a vaccinated person tested positive for the virus. It's important to remember that despite the news headlines, breakthrough cases remain very rare, and the rate of severe breakthrough illness is exceedingly low. Vaccinated people can spread the virus if they get a breakthrough infection, but the odds of them getting sick in the first place is far lower than those who are unvaccinated. Even in the rare circumstance that a vaccinated person becomes infected with the virus, your chance of getting severely ill is extremely low.

Remember that many people who are considered "recovered" from COVID-19 still deal with "long COVID," or post-COVID conditions that linger for weeks or months beyond infection, and in some people, more than a year. These conditions can include difficulty breathing and shortness of breath, tiredness and fatigue, headaches, chest or stomach pain. Other lasting effects include heart, lung, kidney, skin and brain functions. Unvaccinated people are at risk of contracting the virus and dealing with these potential complications of long COVID.

It is normal to have questions and we urge people to talk with their doctor.

Recommendations from the CDC

CDC guidelines recommend that in certain settings, based on level of spread, masks should be worn in indoor public spaces regardless of the person's vaccination status. This is based on the level of spread in your county. The new CDC recommendations relate to face coverings in indoors settings and face coverings for school age children:

1) CDC recommends masking indoors regardless of vaccination status; and

2) CDC recommends K-12 students wear face

coverings in schools regardless of vaccination status.

Click here to check your county. If the spread in your county is listed as 'substantial' or 'high', the indoor mask recommendations in public settings would apply for everyone regardless of vaccination status. Greater than 8 percent positivity or 50 cases per 100,000 population is considered 'substantial spread.'

How is Delta affecting kids? Delta is more transmissible, so more children will get it (Just like more unvaccinated adults will get it). Delta also has a much higher viral load, which means children will test positive more quickly following exposure. This also means people are shedding a ton more virus, so if your child comes in contact with a positive COVID-19 case, the probability of getting infected increases. If your child becomes positive, they have more opportunity to infect others too. (A higher viral load does not necessarily mean increased severity.) As of mid-July, children represented 15.9 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. One study that looked at 23 states found that the hospitalization rate (hospitalized infected} among kids remains at 0.9 percent. An unvaccinated parent can transmit the virus to your children. The chance of a vaccinated person spreading the virus is much less probable than an unvaccinated person.

Medicaid/CHIP

The SDSMA is a partner in a broad coalition, South Dakotans Decide Healthcare, which aims to let voters decide in the 2022 statewide General Election whether to expand health care in South Dakota for more than 40,000 South Dakotans. Thirty-eight states have now expanded Medicaid.

Medicaid is a state and federally funded health care program that provides essential health care services to low-income patients. Without Medicaid, thousands more South Dakotans would be uninsured. Currently, Medicaid covers 116,000 South Dakotans. To qualify, patients must be low income, though being poor does not mean a patient will qualify. For example, low-income childless adults are not eligible even if their income meets the state's Medicaid income requirements.

Medicare and Medicaid, which now cover 35 percent of health care in the U.S., often pay physicians less than it costs them to provide services. Commercial insurance companies' payment rates, computed largely as a percentage of Medicare, have followed the government ­run programs. This leaves many South Dakota physicians struggling to keep their practices open. As a rural state, South Dakota faces tough challenges in providing access to quality, affordable care for all of our citizens.

The medical community understands the financial challenges facing South Dakota and our

country, and that there are no easy decisions for policymakers when it comes to balancing the needs of the state with the resources available. However, cutting payments for health care services is not an effective tool for controlling health care costs, and often exacerbates the cost of care. Without physicians to see patients, the health care delivery system cannot be effective.

The SDSMA advocates not just for adequate funding for the Medicaid program, but for Medicaid eligibility expansion, and for the program to promote wellness and prevention, coordinated care for those with chronic diseases, and assurance that all Medicaid patients have a medical home.


South Dakota State Medical Association
2600 W 49th St Ste 100
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
Phone: 605.336.1965 | Fax: 605.274.3274

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