As you may have heard, the state of South Dakota is doing COVID-19 testing for all residents and employees in nursing homes and assisted living centers across the state. The costs for these tests will be covered by federal money our state has received. We will be doing this testing next Wednesday and Thursday for all our employees, other medical professionals who come to Dow Rummel regularly, residents in the health care center, Village East, Village South, Dow/Rummel wings, and a few select independent living residents who have a spouse living in one of the licensed areas. This state wide testing will take 4 weeks and then the state will be looking at testing for congregate housing which may include our independent living apartments. They are also looking at doing ongoing random testing for all nursing homes and assisted living centers but have not shared details of what that will include. Lab Corp out of Denver has been contracted to do this work for Dow Rummel. We will let you know the results of our testing once we receive them which will likely be the beginning of June.

Many of us have heard about Sioux Falls opening things up again and it looks like the city council will likely lift all restrictions the end of next week. However, we have been told by the Department of Health that we are NOT to be lifting any restrictions yet. The mass testing we are doing will help them develop a safe plan for us to reopen in the coming weeks. So, we need to continue to be diligent in what we are currently doing to keep Dow Rummel safe until we have some new direction from the Department of Health. Also, the Governor’s and Mayor’s goals are to make sure we have enough hospital beds to handle those who get the virus and need to be hospitalized which they are doing a good job managing. Our goal, however, is to not have the virus in our buildings at all, if possible. So, loosening up restrictions for us will only come after we see if the virus has a resurgence when the city leadership drops their restrictions and based on our mass testing results.

One of the things that all of us will have to do until there is a vaccine for this virus is to think about when we should be wearing a mask. I expect this will be come a normal thing for many of us for some time. So, I would like to encourage all our residents to wear a mask when not in your apartment. Once we are able to loosen up our visitor restrictions and allow some visitors, we will require them to wear a mask here at Dow Rummel like all our staff are doing and ideally all our residents are doing. If you need a mask or another mask so that you have a clean one when you are washing the other one, you can get one from the front desk.

Remember to clean your hands regularly using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Always cover your cough. Use a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze. Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing. AND STAY SAFE!