On Monday afternoon, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken held a press conference to provide a COVID-19 update throughout the city and region.

Due to the recent numbers of COVID-19 cases surging in the area and state, Mayor TenHaken is urging the community to mask up.

Dakota News Now is reporting that Mayor Paul TenHaken says that the residents have "let our guard down" when it comes to wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding big groups.  He's calling on the region to act now.  “We need this region and each of you to do your part. We need more. Our schools need you to do more. Our hospitals need you to do more,” states TenHaken during the press conference.

Mayor TenHaken is advising local businesses to follow the city's lead and mandate their employees wear masks while at work.  Despite these extra safety recommendations, Mayor TenHaken does not intend to enforce a mask mandate in the City of Sioux Falls.  Why? He says "it's not enforceable.” Mayor TenHaken indicates that residents can expect to see "strong messaging" from the city with various billboards and social media campaigns promoting wearing masks in public settings.

During the press conference, Mayor TenHaken highlights that COVID-19 cases are a regional issue and not just a city problem. Many hospitalizations are coming from outside of the city limits. The South Dakota Department of Health reports COVID-19 patients occupy 15.4% of staffed hospital beds and 19.5% of the ICU beds in the Sioux Empire.

Dr. David Basel of Avera Health along with Dr. Mike Wilde of Sanford Health joined Mayor TenHaken at the press conference to stress the seriousness of COVID-19 in the region.  Dr. Basel said that there is no doubt that the health care system has seen an increase in hospitalized cases in the past month.  Dr. Wilde also added that it might be best to reconsider holiday plans with this recent surge.

Mayor Paul TenHaken is simply asking people to be "selfless" in a "selfish" situation.  Wear masks to move forward, not backward.

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