by Darla Van Rosendale, Dow Rummel Village CEO 

This month marks one year ago that we felt the impact of COVID-19 here in South Dakota and we had to change so much of what we do to safely maneuver our way through this pandemic. I could not imagine then that we would still be dealing with it to the extent that we are today – one year later. We have seen many ups and downs with only 200 active cases in Minnehaha County in June to a county positive rate of over 25% and over 4800 active cases in November to county positivity rates hovering around 7% and active cases under 500 right now.

At Dow Rummel we had our first COVID case the end of April 2020 and saw a case or two at a time here and there over the next few months. We started seeing more cases beginning the end of September with the most in November and December. We had a four-month time when we consistently had active cases here but since the end of January have seen a significant decline in cases and have had periods with no active cases again like we saw last summer.

Wearing masks and having more and more people get the vaccine has definitely been a contributing factor in the decline in cases in Minnehaha County and at Dow Rummel. Thanks to everyone who has helped make that happen. The staff and residents have become even more of a family over the last year as we have supported each other through the difficult times, prayed for each other for strength and endurance, and looked out for each other’s safety as friends and neighbors.

With our county’s positive rate and cases continuing to stay down below 10%, we have been slowly implementing reopening in phases and hope that we can continue on this path as long as we don’t see cases increase again. Since we are still fairly restricted in what we can do in our licensed areas (nursing home, memory case and assisted living centers), we are looking at things that we can do in independent living that we aren’t able to do yet in the licensed areas. However, we are also looking at ways that we can continue to safely connect the residents in those licensed areas with their family and friends until we are provided new guidelines from CDC and the Department of Health. That means that as you hear about us doing something in one area of the campus, that does not mean that the same is happening in another area of the campus.

We will continue to look at offer recommendations over the next several months as to what you could do safely but also provide you with the guidance and information you need to each make the best decision for you and your health. As we are all hearing on the news and from our medical professionals, masks, physical distancing and good hand hygiene (all those good infection control practices) will be around for some time to come; possibly throughout 2021 yet. But if following those practices and getting the vaccine will allow us to safely reconnect with our family and friends, it is well worth it!

Thank you to everyone for all you are doing to keep each and everyone here at Dow Rummel safe while still finding ways to connect and support each other. I personally want to say thank you to everyone who has reached out to me by stopping by, calling or emailing to provide your support and to let me know you have been thinking of me or praying for me. Your support and prayers have certainly been a key part of my wellbeing during the last
year!

Darla J Van Rosendale, CEO
Dow Rummel Village