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Monument Health braces for potential increase in hospitalizations

Although the Omicron variant of COVID-19 hasn’t hit the Mount Rushmore State, it is spreading...
Although the Omicron variant of COVID-19 hasn’t hit the Mount Rushmore State, it is spreading fast, and Avera and Sanford Health are urging people to take precautions and get vaccinated as those hospitals continue to fill with COVID patients.(KOTA)
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 5:53 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - As the Omicron variant continues to spread in the U.S. COVID hospitalizations across the country are increasing, and some of South Dakota’s largest hospitals are sounding the alarm about potential overflow.

The state of South Dakota is seeing its worst surge of COVID cases since last winter. Although the Omicron variant of COVID-19 hasn’t hit the Mount Rushmore State, it is spreading fast, and Avera and Sanford Health are urging people to take precautions and get vaccinated as those hospitals continue to fill with COVID patients.

Dr. Shankar Kurra with Monument Health said that the increase in hospitalizations in more populated areas of the state all but ensures we’ll see the same trend west river.

“That’s how the infection is spreading in the Great Lakes and midwestern areas,” Kurra said. “The biggest hotspot right now is Wisconsin. So, some of that may explain the geography of the east side of the state is 300 miles away.”

As of now at least, Monument is seeing hospitalizations decreased, with 29 total patients this week.

Kurra stresses, however, that the data sends a clear signal to get vaccinated, and get boosted if it’s your time.

“If you get boosted, you’re going to prevent hospitalizations, prevent ICU level of care, prevent damage to your lungs, and if you don’t get the booster there’s a high likelihood that you’ll end up in the hospital.”

Kurra adds that there’s evidence that the booster shot is effective at preventing the transmission of the Omicron variant.

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