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SD Seniors Urged to Stay Connected for Coronavirus Info

Health officials and senior groups say there's a lot of misinformation flying around about the new coronavirus, and caution older South Dakotans to guidelines of the CDC and other trusted experts. (Adobe Stock)
Health officials and senior groups say there's a lot of misinformation flying around about the new coronavirus, and caution older South Dakotans to guidelines of the CDC and other trusted experts. (Adobe Stock)
March 26, 2020

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Information is flowing on a constant basis about the global pandemic -- and one well-known organization is urging South Dakota seniors to stay connected so they get reliable guidelines during the crisis.

AARP South Dakota says with older people considered one of the more vulnerable age groups for infection, it's important they follow advice from trusted health experts.

Erik Gaikowski, state director of AARP South Dakota, says every Thursday in the coming weeks, AARP will host a free telephone town hall for anyone with questions, whether they're members or not.

"The great thing about those is that we are producing live, over the air, experts in the coronavirus fight -- from the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, leading health professionals," he points out.

Gaikowski says that gives seniors a chance to get firsthand details about best practices, instead of relying on rumors or blatantly false information. He adds the conversations won't include any political spin or partisan tone.

The Tele-Town Halls will begin at noon Central time every Thursday. The toll-free number to call is 1-855-274-9507.

Gaikowski says it might be harder for South Dakota seniors to keep up with information because broadband access is a challenge in some areas. He hopes it doesn't become more of a problem as the pandemic unfolds.

"Now, you see the people who are starting to work from home more," he says. "That's putting more stress on our broadband and our high speed Internet capabilities."

Gaikowski says that's why it's important for residents who don't have online access, or who encounter troubles connecting, to call in to the town hall. He also advises seniors to follow the guidelines from state officials as they respond to the pandemic.

Disclosure: AARP South Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - SD