This month marks one year since we felt the impact of COVID-19 in South Dakota. We had to change so much of what we do to safely maneuver our way through this pandemic. I could not imagine then we would still be dealing with it to the extent that we are today. We have seen many ups and downs. There were 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. We saw a case or two at a time here and there over the next few months. We started seeing more cases the end of September with the most in November and December. We had a four-month time when we consistently had active cases, but since the end of January have seen a significant decline and have had periods with no active cases.

Wearing masks and getting vaccinations have definitely contributed to the decline in cases in Minnehaha County and at Dow Rummel. Thanks to everyone who have helped make that happen. The staff and residents have become even more of a family over the last year –supporting each other through the difficult times, praying for each other for strength and endurance, and looking 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 reopening in phases and hope to continue on this path as long as cases don’t increase again. We are still fairly restricted in our licensed areas (nursing home, memory care and assisted living centers). Our independent living has more activities and reopening than our licensed areas. However, we are also looking at ways that we can continue to safely connect the residents in 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 offer safety recommendations over the next several months and provide you with guidance and information needed to each make the best decision for you and your health. Our medical professionals continue to state masks, physical distancing and good hand hygiene (good infection control practices) will be around for some time to come; possibly throughout 2021. 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 everyone 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