An Iraq War veteran from Webster, S.D., is suffering from tremors and anxiety after returning home from service abroad where he was exposed to toxic fumes from burn pits, but so far, he has been unable to receive disability or medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Anger and violence toward healthcare workers has been a concern for years, but the frequency of inappropriate behavior has risen significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unless tensions ease, experts worry that individual patient care will suffer and that the industry may see even greater worker shortages as healthcare workers continue to suffer burnout.
As COVID-19 cases surge in South Dakota, medical experts are seeing more children hospitalized for severe symptoms and new research has led to concerns that some infected children will suffer the same "long-hauler" symptoms previously seen in adults. Increased vaccinations of children are seen as one potential solution.
Many South Dakota parents have been hesitant to get their children ages 5-11 vaccinated against the coronavirus, and the state is behind all other Great Plains states in terms of rate of child vaccinations. Health officials are urging parents to become educated about the importance of vaccinations that can prevent COVID-19 or reduce symptoms.
Finding a nursing home or long-term care provider for sick or elderly South Dakotans is getting harder due to a financial crisis in the industry driven by high costs associated with COVID-19, a labor shortage fueled by low wages and the ongoing fiscal challenges at facilities trying to remain financially viable.
Many aspects of living and learning on South Dakota college campuses appear more normal this fall, but as COVID-19 cases rise statewide due to the highly transmissible delta variant, aggressive efforts are still being made to keep students, faculty and staff safe and some students are feeling the strain of anxiety caused by the pandemic.
Recent poll results show that Republicans in South Dakota are far less likely than Democrats to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and that many GOP voters are taking cues on the pandemic from state and national political party leaders. As vaccine hesitancy remains entrenched in the state, South Dakota health and medical officials fear that "herd immunity" and a return to normal may be increasingly out of reach.
Studies show that high stress during the COVID-19 pandemic has led many Americans to gain weight, and health experts in South Dakota are concerned that adults and children who put on weight may suffer long-term negative physical and mental health outcomes.
A long-range nursing shortage in South Dakota only got worse during the COVID-19 pandemic as more nurses than usual exited the field, left the state or retired early. Now, as the delta variant raises concern over the potential for higher COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, healthcare experts worry patient care could be affected at South Dakota hospitals.
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