Spearfish continues to update response plan during ever-changing COVID-19 conditions
SPEARFISH, SD (March 19, 2020) – The City of Spearfish appreciates the public’s willingness to stay engaged in the community during this enormously disrupted time in our lives as the world, nation, region, state, and City continue to take necessary steps with the goal of reducing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“We understand that everyone is managing adjustments at home and work, and helping family members to do the same,” Spearfish Mayor Dana Boke said. “At such a time, feeling overwhelmed or anxious is common, and I urge everyone to continue to show your Spearfish spirit even as you practice social distancing. Reach out to your neighbors through email, phone calls, text messages, or social media, to check in and offer encouragement as we do our part to help ‘flatten the curve.’”
The City continues to participate in daily briefings with national, regional, state, and local partners, including Monument Health, the Spearfish School District, and Black Hills State University, and is following the recommended guidelines from the State Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Following Governor Kristi Noem’s mandate to close public schools for another week, the City’s public facilities, including Spearfish City Hall, Grace Balloch Memorial Library, Spearfish Recreation and Aquatics Center, Hudson Hall, W.S. Tretheway Pavilion, Snappers Club, and all other rentals, will remain closed to the public.
Citizens are encouraged to pay their utility bills online or by utilizing the Utility Payment Dropbox outside of City Hall and utilize online and telephone services to conduct any other business they would normally conduct by entering City facilities. Contacts for the various City departments are available on the City’s website, cityofspearfish.com, by clicking on the appropriate department under the “Departments” header at the top of the homepage, or under the “I want to…” tab, under “Contact.”
Regular board, commission, and council meetings scheduled for the remainder of the month will take place remotely/electronically, with more information to follow. People wishing to provide any comments for public hearings, etc., are encouraged to do so in writing, via email, prior to the meeting.
In addition, the City is offering daycare for children of City, Spearfish School District, Black Hills State University, and Monument Health staff to ensure that critical employees may continue to work.
Members of the Spearfish rec center will be receiving options about their memberships during the time the rec center is closed.
The City is also suspending late fees and water shutoffs for utility accounts for those affected by COVID-19.
“We will continue to closely monitor the situation in order to determine how best to serve our citizens, staff, and community with excellence and care,” City Administrator Mike Harmon said. “We may very well have to take additional measures in the days and weeks ahead to further adjust and modify our operations and will provide frequent updates through our website, cityofspearfish.com, our City Facebook page, local media outlets, and other means.”
Black Hills State University extended its spring break for a week and is teaching classes online through April 3 to mitigate spread of COVID-19, a decision made by the South Dakota Board of Regents. Students are not required to leave campus during this time, and there are meal options being provided in the student union for those on campus.
Dr. Laurie Nichols, president of Black Hills State University, said that the world needs innovative thinkers now more than ever, as leaders tackle complex problems with creativity, critical thinking, informed insight, and purpose.
“Our mission demands that we provide an education to our students that develops their intellect and readies them for the world of work,” she said. “Although our mode of delivery has changed, we will continue to deliver our spring semester curricula, providing courses to our students so they can complete their spring schedule and progress in their major.”
The Spearfish School District will deploy online learning tools starting on Monday, March 23. Each respective school will be communicating directly with their students and parents with the details and instructions by the week’s end. Also starting on Monday, March 23, the district will begin distribution of meals for all students to be picked up at various locations in Spearfish. Details of the meal distribution and locations will be sent to parents via the SchoolMessenger service.
“We know that students, parents, teachers, and staff are navigating uncharted waters during this time, and we are proud of the way everyone has come together to ensure the education of our youth,” Kirk Easton, superintendent of the Spearfish School District, said. “We appreciate all of the support from the community with their offers of assistance and outreach to our students and families.”
Many businesses within Spearfish are limited hours or access, and the public is encouraged to call ahead to a business to find out its hours and whether remote, delivery, or pick-up options are available.
In the same vein, people are encouraged to call ahead to their healthcare provider.
“We are being proactive in the wake of COVID-19,” Thomas Worsley, president of Spearfish Hospital and Hills Market at Monument Health, said, encouraging people to remain calm and practical in their preventative methods, including washing their hands, cleaning frequently-touched surfaces, observing social distancing, and staying up-to-date on the latest recommendations from the CDC. He also urged caution in distributing information on social media that is not from a credible source, i.e., those without identifiable, named sources, either of an agency, medical professional, or expert. “During this time, it is especially important that people are informed with factual information from credible sources like cdc.gov,” he said.
Monument Health is also posting daily updates on its Facebook page. As of Wednesday, patients and visitors are being screened for COVID-19 symptoms at all locations. There are no disruptions in scheduled clinic appointments at any location at this time, and if that changes, patients will receive a call from their provider’s office.
Anyone experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath should call their healthcare provider before going to a clinic or hospital – even if they already have an appointment. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep others from getting infected or exposed.
In addition, Monument Health has set up a Nurse Triage Line at (800-279-1466) and a web-based screening application, www.monument.health/COVID, to help screen patients with COVID-19 symptoms.
For those who meet the criteria, Monument Health has opened a drive-thru testing site for patients who have been pre-screened by telephone beforehand. The site is located at the Monument Health Spearfish Clinic at 1420 N. 10th St. in Spearfish.
The CDC’s recommendations for everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19,” Mayor Boke said. “We will continue to update the community as the situation continues to unfold, and I encourage everyone to keep the health, safety, and wellbeing of their neighbors in mind as we weather this storm together. This surreal time will become part of our history, a hurdle that we may not have believed was coming but that we will overcome together, and I thank everyone for their willingness to adapt to this unprecedented situation.”
The City will use CivicReady, an electronic mass communication tool through the City’s website, as its primary communications tool during the outbreak. The City encourages citizens to sign up for CivicReady at https://www.cityofspearfish.com/632/Emergency-Alerts for CivicReady to receive alerts, and updates will also be posted on the City’s homepage, www.cityofspearfish.com. In addition, the City will utilize Facebook, email, local media, and other communications tools readily available to communicate updates and COVID-19 related news.