COVID-19 curve

Health officials say social distancing will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep from overwhelming hospitals. 

The COVID-19 situation continues to be very fluid in South Dakota. It is important for residents to remain diligent and wise to help manage the spread of the virus.

Gov. Kristi Noem and the South Dakota Department of Health continue to recommend that we practice social distancing and personal responsibility. South Dakota aims to “flatten the curve” of the virus, slowing the occurrence of new cases in order to keep from overwhelming the healthcare system. By committing to social distancing measures statewide, we can lessen the impact to our state’s public health resources and healthcare workers. This is a top priority in South Dakota.

In the United States, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets, livestock, or wildlife, might be a source of COVID-19 infection at this time. However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.

• Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.

• Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.

• Take pets to the veterinarian regularly and talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health.

For more details on COVID-19 in animals, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/animals.html.

Individuals and families across the state have had to adjust to new situations at work and in their personal lives in this unprecedented situation. During this time, it is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry. Everyone reacts differently, and your own feelings will change over time.

Taking care of your emotional health during this time will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect you and your family. Self-care is essential. Remember to maintain some level of normalcy right now. Some of these tips may be helpful:

• Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting and exhausting.

• Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.

• Visit one of South Dakota’s state parks and walk one of the nearby trails.

• Listen to music or read a new book you have been putting off.

Above all, take care of each other. This is what we do in South Dakota. Do what you can to take care of those around you. This is a stressful time and anxiety is high for everyone. Call or text friends, family members and neighbors to make sure they know they are not alone in this. And remember, wash your hands and stay home when you are sick.

For the latest developments on COVID-19 in South Dakota, covid.sd.gov, and encourage others to do the same. The website remains the central hub for the most updated information or call 1-800-997-2880 for more information.