Brookings Health Suspends Events, offers COVID 19 guidance

Brookings, S.D. – Mar. 18, 2020 – Following COVID-19 social distancing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) and the White House, Brookings Health System has suspended all in-person events, classes and support groups at their facilities.

“Reducing the number of people from the general public inside our doors enables us to better maintain the microbial integrity of our facility,” said Infection Preventionist Bunny Christie. “While the COVID-19 threat exists, Brookings Health must protect our patients who need care as well as our team members who need to stay healthy in order to care for our patients.”

The health system is exploring ways to host certain classes and events virtually.

The public can find the latest information on COVID-19 at The page also includes links to the CDC and DOH websites.

“Remember,” said Christie, “this is an evolving situation. Get information about COVID-19 from a credible source and do not spread misinformation.”


Health System Asks Public to Follow COVID-19 Triage

Triage Guidance for the Public

To help local healthcare teams care for individuals with COVID-19 symptoms, Brookings Health requests the public to follow triage guidelines:


QUESTIONS •          If you have questions about COVID-19 and no symptoms (fever, coughing, shortness of breath), please call the South Dakota Department of Health hotline, 1-800-997-2880.


•          If you have mild symptoms and are stable, call your primary care provider FIRST to determine if you’re eligible for either influenza or COVID-19 testing. For the Avera Clinic, please call 1-877-AT-AVERA or (605) 697-9500. For the Sanford Clinic, please call (605) 333-4444.

•          Seek care immediately if you have symptoms (fever, coughing, shortness of breath) and fall in to one of these categories:

•          65+ years old

•          Under 5 years old

•          Pregnant

•          Have a chronic medical condition like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease or other immune compromising condition

•          If you do not fall into the above categories, seek medical attention if your illness is worsening, including:

•          A fever of 100.4°F or greater

•          Difficulty breathing

•          STAY AT HOME except to receive medical care.

SEVERE SYMPTOMS •          If you have severe symptoms, seek immediate medical attention at Brookings Hospital’s Emergency Department. Call Brookings Hospital at (605) 696-9000 FIRST before arriving.

•          Severe symptoms include:

•          Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

•          Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

•          New confusion or inability to arouse

•          Bluish lips or face


How the Public Can Prevent Infection

The public should remain calm and use scientifically proven infection control methods.


  • Practice good respiratory etiquette and hygiene. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze in your upper sleeve
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Practice social distancing when out in the community by trying to stay three to six feet away from other people. Do not hug, kiss, shake hands or make other unnecessary contact.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surface areas, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, etc. every day. COVID-19 is easily cleaned by household cleaners or soap and water.
  • Stay at home if you’re sick and self-isolate to prevent the spread of illness.