Coronavirus Disease 2019

COVID-19 cases have been reported by the South Dakota Department of Health, including Brookings County. Learn more at covid.sd.gov or call the COVID information hotline with questions at 1-800-997-2880.

Please remember: this is an evolving situation. Brookings Health System is staying up-to-date on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and South Dakota Department of Health guidelines and implementing changes immediately as needed.

Watch & Learn

Listen to our CEO and President Jason Merkley discuss the first case of COVID-19 in Brookings County. 


Local COVID-19 Information

Help our local health teams care for our community. Before you ask for help for COVID-19, triage yourself. Stop and think which category you fall in.

QUESTIONS If you have questions about COVID-19 and no symptoms (fever, coughing, shortness of breath), please call the South Dakota Department of Health hotline, 1-800-997-2880.

MILD SYMPTOMS

If you have mild symptoms and are stable, call your primary care provider FIRST to determine if you’re eligible for either influenza or COVID-19 testing. For the Avera Clinic, please call 1-877-AT-AVERA or (605) 697-9500. For the Sanford Clinic, please call (605) 333-4444.

Seek care immediately if you have symptoms (fever, coughing, shortness of breath) and fall in to one of these categories:

  • 65+ years old
  • Under 5 years old
  • Pregnant
  • Have a chronic medical condition like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease or other immune compromising condition

If you do not fall into the above categories, seek medical attention if your illness is worsening, including:

  • A fever of 100.4°F or greater
  • Difficulty breathing
STAY AT HOME except to receive medical care.
SEVERE SYMPTOMS

If you have severe symptoms, seek immediate medical attention at Brookings Hospital’s Emergency Department. Call Brookings Hospital at (605) 696-9000 FIRST before arriving.

Severe symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

 

Ayude a nuestros equipos de salud locales a cuidar a nuestra comunidad. Antes de pedir ayuda para COVID-19, evalúe usted mismo. Detente y piensa en qué categoría caes.

PREGUNTAS Si tiene preguntas sobre COVID-19 y no tiene síntomas (fiebre, tos, dificultad para respirar), llame a la línea directa del Departamento de Salud de Dakota del Sur, 1-800-997-2880.
SINTOMAS LEVES

Si tiene síntomas leves y está estable, llame PRIMERO a su proveedor de atención primaria para determinar si es elegible para pruebas de influenza o COVID-19. Para la Clínica Avera, llame al 1-877-AT-AVERA o al (605) 697-9500. Para la Clínica Sanford, llame al (605) 333-4444.

Busque atención de inmediato si tiene síntomas (fiebre, tos, dificultad para respirar) y entra en una de estas categorías:

  • 65+ AÑOS
  • MENORES DE 5 AÑOS  
  • Embarazada
  • Tiene una afección médica crónica como enfermedad cardíaca, diabetes, enfermedad pulmonar u otro sistema inmune condición comprometedora

Si no pertenece a las categorías anteriores, busque atención médica si su enfermedad está empeorando, incluyendo:

  • Fiebre de 100.4 ° F o más  
  • Respiración dificultosa

QUEDARSE EN CASA excepto para recibir atención médica.      

SINTOMAS GRAVES

Si tiene síntomas graves, busque atención médica inmediata en el Departamento de Emergencias del Hospital Brookings. Llame al Hospital Brookings al (605) 696-9000 PRIMERO antes de llegar. 

Los síntomas severos incluyen:

  • dificultad para respirar o se siEnte dÉbil o sin fuerzÁ 
  • dolor o presión persistente en el pecho 
  • si se encuentra confundido por sintomas nuevos o Tiene dificultad para despertarse 
  • labios o cara azulados

 

March 16, 2020

 

Dear Patients and Community Members,

As our organization continues to track and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, we wanted to let you know the actions we are taking to keep our community healthy.

First, Avera Medical Group Brookings has established a “drive-through” testing center for COVID-19. If you believe you were exposed to this virus or are displaying symptoms such as fever over 100 degrees, cough or shortness of breath, you must call your primary care provider or 1-877-AT-AVERA to determine if testing is recommended for you. If a provider determines you need influenza or COVID-19 testing, our Patient Services Representatives will call you to schedule your test and inform you where to go and when.

For COVID-19, curb-side testing is conducted outside the clinic, right from your vehicle, and results are available within a few days. This is for your convenience and the safety of others. If your provider feels you need to be tested for influenza, these results are available in about an hour.

Second, we are now scheduling all of our healthy visits in the morning (well-child exams, medication rechecks, behavioral health visits and annual physicals).  Patients experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness will be seen in the afternoon. This will help limit the exposure of our healthy patients and patients who are at higher risk of respiratory illnesses including COVID-19.

Third, we are actively working with information technology teams at Avera to start doing virtual care visits where you will be able to have a visit with your regular provider from the comfort and confines of your own home.

You have our assurances that the doctors, advanced practice professionals, nurses, lab techs, and receptionists will continue to work tirelessly to help keep you and your family healthy. Especially in the face of a global pandemic, we remain committed to our vision to improve the health of the people we serve. As the situation evolves, so too will our response.

 

Sincerely,

 

Rebecca Vande Kop, MD

Medical Director

Avera Medical Group Brookings

 

Patrick Siegling                                                                                                         

Clinic Director

Avera Medical Group

March 18, 2020

 

Some updates within our health system:

  • Sanford has strict protocol in place for screenings and testing of individuals, as well as protocols if someone presents with symptoms.
  • There are many other healthcare needs outside of COVID-19 that need attention and we will continue to provide for those patients while also monitoring our bed capacity on an hourly basis.
  • We have increased our capacity for virtual visits with your primary care physicians, as well as our nursing line if you feel symptomatic.
  • Visitor restrictions are in place for both the Sanford and Good Samaritan facilities.
  • Our non-essential travel and in-person meetings are currently on hold.

Here are some links to information, as well as facesome attachments that you are welcome to review. These are the best places to check for current health information and status:

 

Dr. Jennifer Olson, MD

Medical Director

Sanford Clinic Brookings

  • Arlington Medical Center, White Medical Clinic and Volga Medical Clinic are all operating with their regular business hours at this time.
  • Any patient who has respiratory symptoms (fever, coughing, shortness of breath) must call their respective clinic FIRST before arriving. Clinic health care workers will determine if patients are eligible for influenza testing at the clinic or if they need to be sent to to another provider with COVID-19 testing capabilities.
    • Arlington Medical Center: (605) 983-3283
    • White Medical Clinic: (605) 629-3333
    • Volga Medical Clinic: (605) 627-5701
  • The clinics do not have the capability to test for COVID-19. All suspected cases of COVID-19 will be sent to another provider with COVID-19 testing capabilities.
  • For individuals who have regular appointments scheduled and are not feeling well, they should call their clinic and consider rescheduling their appointment for a different time.
  • There are many healthcare needs outside of COVID-19 that need attention. The clinics will continue to care for those patients as well during the COVID-19 threat.
  • Please remember: this is an evolving situation. Brookings Health System is staying up-to-date on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and South Dakota Department of Health guidelines and implementing changes immediately as needed.

We have implemented the following actions to protect the health of expecting parents and babies. Items may change as the COVID-19 situation evolves. 

Before coming to the hospital:

  • Please call the OB unit at (605) 696-8052 prior to coming to the hospital so we can escort you to the unit. 
  • Please let the OB team know if you or anyone in your family has had the following symptoms:
    • Fever over 100° F
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath 
    • Traveled to a foreign country in the last 30 days or been exposed to someone with COVID-19

Tours & Education

  • For the protection of our mothers and newborns we are not allowing tours of the unit at this time. You can take a virtual tour online here. 
  • Since we are not able to provide group classes at our facility, educational books for breastfeeding and labor and delivery will be available at the clinic. These educational booklets contain links to videos that can also be watched.

While at the hospital: 

  • We will ask you to stay in the room.
  • Patients will be allowed one support person.
  • Newborns will be kept in the same room with their mother unless:
    • Medical condition of a newborn warrants the newborn to be in nursery.
    • Medical procedures needing to be done in the nursery, such as circumcision.
  • Siblings will not be allowed to visit..
  • We are currently NOT allowing anyone in the family room. Please let the staff know if you would like a snack or beverage from the family room and they will get it for you.
  • New Beginnings Baby Café lactation support will be provided via call in phone service.

Please contact the OB unit  at (605) 696-8052 with any concerns or questions.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.
  • Patients with COVID-19 experience mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  • Complications may include pneumonia in both lungs.
  • Those at greatest mortality risk from COVID-19 include the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes , lung disease or other immune compromising conditions.
  • Children are more likely to present with mild symptoms. There is currently no evidence that children are more susceptible to COVID-19.
  • The best prevention is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
  • Brookings Health continues to follow CDC and South Dakota Department of Health guidelines and implements any guideline updates immediately.
  • On March 12, Brookings Health began temporarily restricting outside visitors to The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home in order to protect residents, many of whom are classified in the COVID-19 vulnerable population.
  • On March 13, Brookings Health implemented a temporary policy to restrict visitors to Brookings Hospital to immediate family members only. Only one visitor is allowed per patient. Staff will screen visitors upon entrance, checking them for respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough and shortness of breath) and asking about recent travel.
  • On March 17, Brookings Health System suspended all in-person events, classes and support groups at their facilities. Limiting access from the public allows Brookings Health to maintain the infection control integrity of facilities and protect patients who need care and the healthcare workers who need to care for them.
  • On March 30, Brookings Health temporarily closed Brookings Hospital to all visitors in order to protect both patients and team members from the spread of COVID-19. In addition, all persons entering the facility, including team members, are screened and logged for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure. 
  • Facilities have negative air flow (pressure) rooms in the emergency department, inpatient care unit and same-day surgery area to care for patients if needed while maintaining infection control integrity within the facility.
  • Brookings Health screens patients for travel according to CDC guidelines.
  • Brookings Health has placed signage at the facility entrances with masks, encouraging people to call our facility first before entering if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • When a local case is suspected, Brookings Health works with the CDC, South Dakota Department of Health and other authorities as needed.
  • Brookings Health has updated health system policies and procedures with Coronavirus guidelines for staff to follow in the same manner as previous outbreak threats, such as SARS and Ebola.
  • Brookings Health continues to educate care teams and staff about COVID-19, including how it spreads and how they can protect themselves if called upon to care for a patient.
  • Brookings Health has the needed safety equipment, including masks and respirators, in place to protect health care staff as needed.
  • All persons entering the facility, including team members, are screened and logged for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure.
  • Brookings Health has established COVID-19 worksite protocols for team members in accordance with CDC guidelines. The protocols establish what team members should do if they are ill as well as gives quarantine guidance after travel.

Yes. Brookings Health System has put safety measures in place to protect all patients from COVID-19 and any other infectious disease. That includes respirators and masks, frequent hand washing/sanitizing, and social distancing.

There are many other healthcare needs outside of COVID-19, including women who need to deliver babies and individuals with other medical emergencies. We will continue to provide care for those patients.

Brookings Health System is following Governor Noem's Executive Order regarding COVID-19. At this time we are only performing urgent and emergent surgical cases. Patients should discuss the need for a procedure with their surgeon. 

  • Contact your primary care provider if you have any COVID-19 symptoms and fall into one of the following groups:
    • Over 65 years of age
    • Under 5 years of age
    • Pregnant
    • Have a chronic medical condition like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease or other immune compromising conditions
  • If you do not fall into those groups, contact your primary care provider if your illness is worsening, including:
    • A fever of 100.4°F or greater
    • Difficulty breathing
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, seek medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs in adults include:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face
  • Call your healthcare provider before seeking care and explain your symptoms.
  • Immediately put on a facemask before entering any healthcare facility. This will help protect others, including health care workers, from becoming infected or exposed.
  • Brookings Health is the lead partner in the Brookings County Pandemic Preparedness Plan. We work with Brookings County Emergency Management, Brookings chapter of the American Red Cross, the City of Brookings, South Dakota State University and other surrounding counties and communities with a response plan in place for the outbreak of any pandemic.
  • Brookings Health System has 49 hospital beds to care for people, including those with infectious diseases. If a local outbreak occurs and if Brookings Health System’s facilities become overwhelmed, the county’s pandemic response plan goes into action.
  • The pandemic response plan’s goals include:
    • Contain and control disease outbreak
    • Limit the number of illnesses and deaths
    • Preserve continuity of critical government functions
    • Minimize social disruption
    • Minimize economic losses
  • The public can read the full pandemic plan at BeReadyBrookings.com.
  • Stay at home except to get medical care. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. About 80% of patients can be treated at home for COVID-19. The rate of patient who experience serious complications is only slightly higher than that of seasonal influenza.
  • Avoid public areas. Do not go to work, school, daycare, church, shopping or anything else in the public.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. Try to stay in a specific room and use a separate bathroom if available. Wear a facemask around other people or pets.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and immediately throw used tissues in a lined trash can. Immediately wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday twice), especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, going to the bathroom, and before eating or preparing food. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items, such as dishes, glasses, towels or bedding. Wash household items thoroughly after use.
  • Clean and disinfect all high-touch surface areas.
  • Monitor your symptoms.

If you seek treatment, call your health care provider’s office before visiting them. If visiting Brookings Health System’s emergency department, call (605) 696-9000. If visiting Avera Medical Group Brookings, call either 1-877-AT-AVERA or (605) 697-9500. If visiting Sanford Health, call (605) 333-4444. Explain your symptoms to your health care provider.

  • If you are being actively monitored, your healthcare provider will call the state health department. Persons placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instruction provided by the South Dakota Department of Health.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, seek medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs in adults include:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face
  • For discontinuing isolation, stay at home until you’re instructed to leave if you have confirmed COVID-19. The decision to discontinue isolation will be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with healthcare providers and authorities.
  • Remain calm. We must not let fear influence our decisions.
  • Remember: this is an evolving situation. Get information about COVID-19 from a credible source and do not spread misinformation. Brookings Health recommends the CDC or South Dakota Department of Health for the latest information.
  • Practice good respiratory etiquette and hygiene: cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze in your upper sleeve. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday twice). If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Practice social distancing when out in the community. Try to stay 3 to 6 feet away from other people. Do not hug, kiss, shake hands or make other unnecessary contact.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surface areas, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, etc. every day. COVID-19 is easily cleaned by household cleaners or soap and water.
  • Stay at home if you’re sick and self-isolate to prevent the spread of illness.
  • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of disease to others. It is also crucial for health care workers and people who are taking care of someone in a close setting to wear an appropriate facemask.

Recovery from COVID-19 is based on when symptoms started and when a person seeks care and gets tested. 

A person is considered recovered when: 1) seven days have passed since the onset of their symptoms; 2) they've been fever free for at least three days and other symptoms, such as cough, have improved.


COVID-19 News from Brookings Health

Keeping It Clean

Few COVID-19 news stories focus on some of the most integral healthcare workers behind the scenes: the housekeepers and laundry aides.

Brookings Hospital Closed to Visitors

Effective today, Brookings Hospital will be temporarily closed to all visitors in order to protect both patients and team members from the spread of COVID-19. In addition, all persons entering the facility, including team members, will be screened and logged for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure.

Brookings Health Accepting PPE Donations

Brookings Health System is currently accepting personal protective equipment (PPE) donations, including home sewn surgical masks.