The Flandreau City Council wants residents to wear masks in public.
The council approved a resolution on Nov. 2 to encourage mask wearing because the number of cases of COVID-19 are surging in Moody County and across the state. “…it becomes necessary and appropriate for city government to lend a strong voiced of encouragement for compliance with recommendations from the medical community to control the spread of the virus,” the resolution reads.
In late October, a group of medical, municipal and school organizations started the Mask Up South Dakota campaign to recommend and promote wearing masks as hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 grow. South Dakota does not have a mandate calling for people to wear masks.
In the past week, Moody County has seen 63 new cases of COVID-19 and has had one additional death, according to state Department of Health statistics.
As of Monday, there were 303 positive cases in the county, with an increase in new cases that is nearly double the increase of 33 a week earlier. Of those cases, 105 people have active disease, a record for the county. An additional 194 people have recovered.
Four people have died, 17 have been hospitalized and 1,427 have tested negative since the state started tracking statistics in March.
The Flandreau School District reports four students and three staff who have COVID-19. Two of the students are in the elementary, one is in middle school and one is in high school. One elementary staff member and two high school staff also are sick. In addition, 11 students and 13 staff members have recovered.
The school district went to online learning last week and will conduct classes over the internet until at least Nov. 16.
Mayor Dan Sutton brought the mask recommendation to the council, saying that it is a good policy to wear masks at a time when some businesses and churches are having to make tough decisions about being open.
“I thought it was fitting we do a resolution to encourage people to wear masks,” he said.
Alderman Jason Unger said he would be willing to take the resolution even further. But, he agreed that encouraging people to wear masks is appropriate at a time when hospitals, such as Flandreau’s, may be seeing more patients because larger hospitals have a limited number of beds.
“I think this a good message. I hope it is received well,” he said.