RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – A group of leading Rapid City area physicians is calling on Mayor Steve Allender and the city council to implement several measures to slow or halt the spread of the coronavirus/COVID19.
The doctors express in an open letter to city, state, and public health officials what they call “serious concern” about the COVID-19 pandemic expanding in the community and the region, and offer a list of proposals based on recommends from the federal CDC.
Those measures include implementing self-isolation at home except for essential needs, practicing social distancing when away from home, and ending non-essential travel especially on airlines and public transportation.
The doctors also called for closing non-essential businesses including bars, salons, retail stores, clubs, gyms, schools, daycare, social venues and churches, limiting restaurants and other food venues to takeout, conserving medical supplies and limiting non-essential healthcare operations
Speaking for the group, Dr Luke Mortimer says in a release that the region isn’t immune from the pandemic but is position to “isolate and suppress the virus.”
Mortimer, president of Black Hills Orthopedics and Spine Center and vice chair of Black Hills Surgical Hospital, says there’s much to learn from what’s occurred but that time is of the essence, so leaders need to make some of the challenging decisions required to protect the public.
Other doctors signing the letter include Rapid City Emergency Medical Services President Stephen Miller, Monument Health chief of medical staff Andrea Baier, Black Hills Surgical Hospital chair Lew Papendick, Black Hills Pediatrics managing partner Margaret Kuehler, Rapid City Medical Center President Rebecca Linquist, West River ENT president Rob Schleiffarth, and Black Hills Neurosurgery and Spine president Stuart Rice.
Their letter says the impacts on individuals and businesses by implementing their proposal is “greatly outweighed by the health and safety risk facing our community and our responsibility to those most vulnerable among us. Now is the time to take further action. You must not hesitate; we need decisive action now.”