Sioux Falls posts more COVID-19 increases as council has first consideration of mask mandate

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Falls City Council will consider Tuesday night a proposed ordinance to require face coverings in indoor public places when six-foot social distancing is not possible.

This is the first reading of the ordinance.

The proposal comes as coronavirus numbers continue to increase in the Sioux Falls area and in the state. The numbers have been increasing since Oct. 1 with some slight decreases on single days.

As of Tuesday, the Sioux Falls area had 199 people hospitalized, according to the city of Sioux Falls COVID-19 dashboard. That’s an increase of 55 in a week from Oct. 28.

The area had 293 new cases on Tuesday compared to 382 on Oct. 28. The area had 181 new cases and 73 hospitalizations on Oct. 1.

The weekly percentage positive for cases jumped to 48% for the week ending Oct. 31. Cases increased by 4,713 from Oct. 30 through Nov. 3.

The area has 137 deaths.

The mask ordinance is being proposed by council members Rick Kiley and Curt Soehl, according to the council agenda.

The discussion follows a Nov. 2 coronavirus news conference held by Mayor Paul TenHaken.

TenHaken said during the news conference that he would not initiate a mask mandate because it would not be enforceable, because health care officials on the Mask Up South Dakota campaign have not sought a statewide mask mandate and because a mask mandate in Sioux Falls would not have an impact on the region or neighboring states, which also have increasing COVID-19 cases.

TenHaken urged the public to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing and good hand hygiene and follow other safety precautions to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and reduce hospitalizations.

Hospitalizations was a focus of the Nov. 2 news conference. Dr. Mike Wilde of Sanford and Dr. Mike Elliot of Avera said that their organizations and staff were being pushed to limits.

Elliot said there was no good news in the COVID-19 numbers.

Sanford announced on Nov. 3 that it was temporarily rescheduling elective surgeries and similar procedures. Avera McKennan said it was continuing with such surgeries but continuing to assess the situation.