Page 1

Inspiring Health SPRING 2021

Connecting During COVID A COVID patient’s recovery at Brookings Hospital

Couple Honored by Foundation for Great Gifts of Gratitude Ralph and Gayle Matz are recognized for donating time and talent during the pandemic

COVID-19 Vaccines: Myths vs. Facts Misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine debunked


Allergies, Sinuses and Surgical Relief 2

A return to spring for many people also means a return to seasonal allergies. Itchy, watery eyes; a stuffy, runny nose; and increased sinus pressure are some of the most common symptoms for allergy sufferers. When staying indoors on high pollen count days and medications don’t cut it, allergies can interfere with everyday life. To find relief, minimally invasive endoscopic surgery may be an option for some patients whose allergies may actually intensify another condition: chronic sinus infections, or sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis is a condition in which the sinuses are swollen and inflamed, preventing mucous from draining and causing build up. This build up makes it difficult to breathe and causes congestion. Seasonal allergies can further irritate chronic sinusitis, preventing the sinuses from draining and adding to breathing difficulty.

When allergies contribute to chronic sinusitis, a balloon sinuplasty procedure can open up the nasal passageways and provide relief. During balloon sinuplasty, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon inserts an endoscope into the nasal passage. Once the sinus cavity is reached, the surgeon slowly inserts a small balloon catheter. Once correctly positioned, the balloon catheter is slowly inflated and pressed against the sinus walls, slightly fracturing the bone and forcing an opening. Once the balloon is full inflated, the surgeon flushes out the passageway and cavities with a saline rinse. The balloon is then removed and the sinus is left to drain naturally. By opening up sinus passages, fluid can drain away, relieving pressure and adding to comfort. Looking for allergy relief and want to learn more? Visit brookingshealth.org/ENT.

WANT TO RECEIVE INSPIRING HEALTH ELECTRONICALLY? Opt out of paper and get our Inspiring Health newsletter delivered straight to your e-mail. It’s the same great content and information once a quarter in an electronic format.

Ready to make the switch? Sign-up at www.brookingshealth.org/IH. brookingshealth.org

GREAT GIFTS OF GRATITUDE Great Western Bank announced in December the winners of a one-time award program called Great Gifts of Gratitude. The program works to recognize the selfless work and unwavering dedication of community members who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic by gifting over $60,000 to 130 winners across the bank’s nine-state footprint. Through an online nomination process, Great Western Bank received more than 600 nominations after asking the public to submit stories of people throughout their community who were making an impact. Great Western Bank of Brookings had a winning submission in its community. Ralph and Gayle Matz were nominated by Brookings Health System Foundation with the following story: Ralph and Gayle have gone above and beyond donating their time and talent over the last couple of months to make home sewn face masks, hospital gowns and isolation gowns in support of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needs at Brookings Health System related to COVID-19.






We generously received donated bedsheets and pillowcases from local hotels to use as sewing supplies. Ralph and Gayle helped us utilize these resources and designed patterns to suit our specific needs. They even took the time to be extra resourceful and cut out the elastic from our donated fitted sheets and reused them for face masks. Ralph and Gayle stayed in contact with the Brookings Health System Foundation and donated items on a weekly basis. Their generosity and commitment to supporting local health care and Brookings Health System is what makes them our local heroes!

Thank-you to area residents who participated in the City of Brookings “Love Our Health Care Workers” campaign this past December!

Ralph and Gayle decided to pay their gift forward, further displaying their kindness. Great Western Bank purchased gift cards in order for the couple to donate food to those in need during the holiday season. Visit brookingshealth.org/foundation to learn about the COVID-19 Response Fund, personal protective equipment needs and ways you can support Brookings Health as we respond to COVID -19. Contact the Foundation at (605) 696-8855 or foundation@brookingshelath.org for more information.

spring 2021

We received 2,215 paper hearts with messages of love, hope, kindness and support at a time when our team truly felt the stress of COVID-19 patients. The hearts now fill our Inpatient Care waiting room windows and other spaces, reminding us we have a community who supports us during the pandemic.

Connecting During COVID To date South Dakota has seen over 100,000 cases of COVID-19 since the first case was confirmed on March 10, 2020. Over 6,000 people have been hospitalized, including Chris Edmunds of Estelline. He entrusted his life to Brookings Hospital’s inpatient care team this past November. “I wasn’t thinking about myself; I was thinking about my wife and kids.” As the sole provider for his family, that was Chris’ focus when he came to Brookings Health System’s emergency room where he underwent a CT scan of his lungs and an EKG to test his heart rate while also receiving oxygen. Ten days before he began experiencing a sore throat and body aches. A test confirmed he had COVID-19. His symptoms continued while he tried to recuperate at home, including a fever that wouldn’t break. The evening before coming to the ER, he was so sick and so out of breath he couldn’t even climb the stairs to the bedroom. That morning he scheduled an appointment at the clinic.


“I couldn’t breathe at all,” said Chris who drove himself to his clinic appointment. “Not even being five minutes at the clinic, my doctor called an ambulance and ambulanced me over to the hospital.” Chris was admitted to the inpatient care unit from the ER, being taken up by bed because he couldn’t walk. He stayed for eight days. During his hospitalization, his care team was honest with him about his condition and what

needed to happen for him to avoid intubation—his motivation to do what it took to get better. “I think that it’s great that they’re not going to sugar coat it with you,” said Chris. “They’re going to tell you where you need to be and then they’re going to help you get there.” To help him get better, Chris’ vitals were constantly monitored, including his oxygen levels. He was put on Vapotherm therapy to keep his oxygenation levels high. He also was encouraged to drink Propel water to stay hydrated and to move around as much as possible. And when he made progress, his care team celebrated with him. “There’s a trust there,” said Chris. “I’m trusting them to take care of me and they’re trusting me I’m going to tell them what’s wrong.” Chris’ life was in his care providers hands. The trust built between him and the team of nurses, respiratory therapists and doctors evolved into a strong bond that helped him return to those he cares about most—his family. “They’re not disconnected from you. They want to know how you’re doing,” said Chris. “By the time you leave, there’s a great connection. You almost made a friend.” Listen to more of Chris’ COVID-19 recovery at brookingshealth.org/Chris_Edmonds.

“By the time you leave, there’s a great connection. You almost made a friend.”



Several myths have circulated regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Brookings Health debunks some of the most common falsehoods.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine makes women infertile. FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t affect fertility. The COVID-19 vaccine encourages the body to create copies of the spike protein

to make a protein to trigger an immune response. After the cells have finished using the instructions, they quickly break down the mRNA.

found on the virus surface. This helps the body’s immune system

MYTH: All COVID-19 vaccines were developed using fetal tissues.

learn to fight the virus that has the specific spike protein on it.

FACT: Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not require the use of fetal

A false report circulating on social media caused confusion,

cell cultures in order to produce the vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson

claiming the coronavirus’s spike protein was the same as the syncitin-1 spike protein involved in the growth and the attachment

vaccine did require the use of fetal cell cultures to produce and manufacture the vaccine.

of the placenta during pregnancy. The false report claimed the COVID-19 vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight the syncitin-1 spike protein and prevent pregnancy. The two spike proteins are completely different and distinct from one another, meaning the claim is scientifically implausible.

MYTH: Getting the vaccine gives you COVID-19. FACT: None of the COVID-19 vaccines use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, an individual could experience symptoms, such as fever, after getting the vaccine as the body builds immunity.

Natural COVID-19 infections have not been linked to infertility nor

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after

increased miscarriage rates. During infection, the body creates

vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with

the same antibodies to the spike protein as the vaccine does. As

the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination

such, if COVID-19 affected fertility, pregnant women infected with

and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time

COVID-19 would have an increased miscarriage rate.

to provide protection.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine changes your DNA.

MYTH: The vaccines implant microchip tracking devices.

FACT: No COVID-19 vaccine affects your DNA. Both the Pfizer and

FACT: There is no vaccine microchip or tracking device.

Moderna vaccines are designed to help the body’s immune system

The vaccines will not track people nor gather personal information

fight COVID-19. The messenger RNA (mRNA) from the vaccine

into a database. This myth started after Bill Gates’ comments about

never enters the cell nucleus where DNA is kept, meaning it cannot

a digital certificate of vaccine records were misconstrued.

interact with or affect DNA in any way. The mRNA instructs the cell

Use trusted sources for information about the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit brookingshealth.org/Vaccine for the latest information.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS The COVID-19 vaccine is a safer alternative to immunity and an important tool to help us end the pandemic.



The Department of Health has established a vaccination plan to work through priority groups. Each priority group is immunized as vaccination doses become available. Once all individuals in one priority group has been offered the opportunity to receive the vaccine, the Department of Health instructs vaccinators to move to the next priority group. Information about where to go and how to receive it if you fall into a priority group will be available at that time. You can find out if you fall in a priority group by checking brookingshealth.org/Vaccine or by calling the Helpline Center at 211.

All vaccines will be administered by licensed health care professionals who are trained to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

Currently the Department of Health predicts vaccines will be available for the general public in May 2021.

CAN I GET MY VACCINATION FROM BROOKINGS HEALTH SYSTEM IF I DO NOT LIVE IN BROOKINGS COUNTY? Brookings Health has been appointed by the Department of Health as the vaccine distributor for Brookings County only. Vaccine distributors for surrounding counties are:

Kingsbury: Avera De Smet Memorial Hospital Hamlin: Sanford Health Lake Norden &


The Department of Health has established a vaccination plan with phases to cover priority groups, such as health care workers and those most at risk from COVID-19, first. Once one phase or sub-phase is completed, vaccinations will be offered to the next eligible group. How quickly each group can be vaccinated depends on the number of doses allocated and the number of people in that group choosing to receive the vaccine. Brookings Health will move through the phases and priority groups as quickly as we are able. You may find a link to the Department of Health’s estimated timetable for each group at brookingshealth.org/Vaccine.

WHERE WILL THE VACCINE BE DISTRIBUTED? Vaccine distribution may vary depending upon the number of vaccine doses received. Smaller vaccine allocations may be distributed at the hospital, one of the local clinics or another site. Mass vaccination points of dispensing, commonly called PODs or community vaccination centers, will happen with the assistance of the Brookings County Pandemic Planning and Coordination Committee (PPCC) at sites such as the Swiftel Center or SDSU. Information will be given for each vaccine event at that time.

Sanford Health Estelline

Deuel: Sanford Health Clear Lake Moody: Avera Medical Group Flandreau Lake: Madison Regional Health System

IS THE VACCINE SAFE? The U.S. vaccine safety system works to ensure all vaccines are as safe as possible. Federal agencies and vaccine manufacturers alike have made safety a top priority as they have developed and authorized a COVID-19 vaccine. All vaccines go through clinical trial to test safety and effectiveness. For COVID-19, the FDA setup rigorous standards for developers to meet. Once a vaccine has been authorized for use, monitoring continues to track problems or side effects that were not detected during clinical trials. Problems are most likely to emerge early in the testing process where they can be identified and addressed. So far, none of the vaccine trials have reported any serious safety concerns. People with severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to injectable medications, components of the vaccine or other vaccines should discuss the risk with their primary care provider.


ABOUT THE COVID-19 VACCINE HOW DOES THE VACCINE WORK? The COVID-19 vaccination helps protect people by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. By avoiding getting sick from the virus, people also avoid the severe risks and complications of the virus, including possible death.

WHY DO I NEED TWO DOSES OF THE SAME VACCINE? When a vaccine requires two doses, the first dose helps your body recognize the virus and gets your immune system ready. The second shot strengthens your immune response, preparing your body to fight infection. One shot of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not as effective in protecting you from COVID-19 as two shots are. One dose is only about 50% effective; two doses are about 95% effective. Because each vaccine is designed slightly differently, Pfizer and Moderna are not interchangeable. If you receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you will only need one dose.


HOW LONG AFTER I GET THE VACCINE WILL IT START TO BE EFFECTIVE? It typically takes a couple of weeks for the body to build immunity after receiving the vaccine.

CAN WE STOP WEARING MASKS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING ONCE WE HAVE THE VACCINE? NO. The vaccine is one tool to help end the COVID-19 pandemic. Combining the vaccination with other measures gives us the best opportunity to stop the pandemic. The CDC will not know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until they have more data. As such, other safety measures, including mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing, should continue until further guidance is given by the CDC and South Dakota Department of Health.

7 IF I’VE HAD COVID-19, WILL I NEED A VACCINATION? YES. According to the CDC, there is not enough information currently available on natural immunity to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.

Reactions from a vaccine are a normal response and means the vaccine and your immune system are both working correctly. The COVID-19 vaccines have been associated with the following side effects which were sometimes slightly worse after the second dose:

The COVID-19 vaccine is the next step to end this pandemic. When your turn comes, roll up your sleeve! Help us get back to what we

miss most.

• Redness or swelling at the injection site • Chills • Tiredness • Joint Pain • Headache • Fever • Muscle pain • Vomiting and Diarrhea


Side effect length varies from person to person, but generally they go away within a few days.

spring 2021

300 22nd Avenue Brookings, SD 57006

This is a recyclable product.

Inspiring Health is published by Brookings Health System. This publication in no way seeks to serve as substitute for professional medical care. Consult your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.

Patient Financial Advocate Pledge By taking the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) Patient Financial Advocate Pledge, Brookings Health System agrees to:

• Educate patients on healthcare financial language and terms to assist in making informed decisions. • Assist the patient in qualifying for other programs such as medication assistance programs and insurance coverage. • Educate patients on hospital financial assistance programs and assist in the application process. • Treat all patients equally and fairly. • Offer payment plans as an option for balance resolution. • Agree that no legal proceedings will be utilized until all other options have been attempted. • Ask for feedback to learn how our staff and procedures are perceived to ensure continued quality enhancements. To fulfill the tenets of the pledge, Brookings Health will follow AAHAM’s Navigating Insurance Complexity through Education (NICE) promise. Those components include:



• Assist patients with knowing how to contact the correct

• Reduce the expense burden by offering monthly balance

• Inform patients of programs and grants available and how to apply. • Explain where the patient can find price estimates prior to their

• Qualify patients for financial assistance programs.


• Educate patients on their insurance benefits. • Coach patients on healthcare financial language so they can

hospital personnel for help with a specific question.

next service date.

• Identify insurance coverage for patients that have not been billed. • Explore other types of insurance that could be applicable.

resolution options.


make informed decisions.

For more information on understanding medical prices and financial services available to patients, please visit brookingshealth.org/Value.

Profile for Brookings Health System

Inspiring Health Spring 2021  

Inspiring Health Spring 2021