Canceling public events for public health

Social distancing is one way to slow the spread of novel coronavirus

Exterior daytime view of Sanford Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

With the well-being of communities the foremost concern, Sanford Health has canceled or postponed many events in recent days. While disappointing in many cases, these measures adhere to those recommended by public health officials.

Social distancing and responsible event management help reduce the overall number of infected people, as the United States has learned from other countries with COVID-19 outbreaks. By slowing the spread, everyone is playing a role in protecting resources in place to manage the infection.

It is why event cancellations have gone beyond athletic events to all Sanford Health events for the next eight weeks.

“If we can prevent that from spreading to others, that’s where we can really not have the large numbers of significant hospitalizations and fatalities,” said Sanford Health Chief Medical Officer Allison Suttle, M.D. “That’s what is going to be the difference for us.”

Social distancing played a significant role in canceling the NAIA Division II men’s basketball tournament that began at the Sanford Pentagon last week. It was a local example of preventive measures that have since enveloped the world of sports and affected other major events that would normally attract thousands of people.

In the days since then, the definition of what constitutes a “big event” has been altered considerably. Much smaller gatherings are now being postponed for the same reasons larger gatherings were being canceled last week. Monday, the CDC recommended canceling or postponing gatherings of 10 or more people.

“It’s really a very fluid situation and as we learn more we want to be more protective and preventive,” Dr. Suttle said. “It’s really just concern that we don’t spread the virus more, and we have more time to slow the spread so we can handle it and react in a more contained manner. It’s a good safety measure.”

For those who have registered for Sanford events that have been postponed but not canceled, the intent is to reschedule. Those expecting to be involved in those events will be notified when the information becomes available.

Refund options will be available for those who have purchased tickets but will not be able to attend rescheduled events.

Contributing: Courtney Collen.

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Posted In Community, Coronavirus

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