Avera finally announces their furloughs

A few weeks ago I got beat up for this post. The story today only verified what I was hearing back than;

Avera Health has furloughed approximately 650 employees across its system and reduced hours for about 1,500 staff members as the financial and operational implications of COVID-19 take hold.

This was the ‘big announcement’ I was talking about. I couldn’t give the full announcement because I had not heard the details of how many people it would be. So while I didn’t have all the details, I did know this was happening. Avera obviously drug their feet as long as they could before telling people. Sanford said today they are trying to avoid a furlough thru crosstraining they are doing now, but it may still happen. I apologize, but sometimes these stories tend to take a little bit longer to come out.

Mayor TenHaken looking to pull his stay at home ordinance

He announced at the 2 PM meeting today he wanted to pull back on the ordinance and just have a continuation of the loitering ordinance.

“Our current stay-at-home order needs to pivot based on today’s data,” he said. “I feel that the measures we still have to take in our city to further flatten our curve can be enhanced through enhanced regulations in our no-lingering ordinance and not in a stay-at-home order.”

So what was the real reason he wanted to do this? Because at least 6-7 councilors already told his COS that they were voting it down. I would even go further and say that by Tuesday it would probably be an 8-0 vote.

I’m sure PTH was trying to save himself any embarrassment from the complete failure of his proposed ordinance. The irony though is that most of the council is against it because they think in infringes on civil liberties, in which it does not, it actually does nothing at all but make a strong suggestion. It was a great exercise in futility and little else.

Some councilors threw around the idea of limiting employee in businesses or at least setting strong guidelines. I think this is good.

Councilor Stehly even pointed out they are already limiting restaurants from opening, so how would it be any different. The difference is MONEY and Greed.

As we can see from this BBC story, Smithfield did ignore the warning signs;

But according to Smithfield employees, their union representatives, and advocates for the immigrant community in Sioux Falls, the outbreak that led to the plant closure was avoidable. They allege early requests for personal protective equipment were ignored, that sick workers were incentivised to continue working, and that information regarding the spread of the virus was kept from them, even when they were at risk of exposing family and the broader public.

These larger employers that are ignoring advice from the CDC on how to slow the spread are the reason this is spreading so quickly now in our community. The problem is the Feds are protecting these companies and even worse yet, we live in a right to work state where employers really can treat their employees like dirt and there is no repercussions. Believe it or not, it’s hard for our local government to do anything legally to get these bad actors to knock it off. Their hands are tied. But I also want to say, they are not doing enough to put on the pressure. I watched an almost 4 hour meeting this afternoon that consisted of one excuse after another and no real solution of how they are going to get these large employers to limit their work forces. Just be happy you don’t work in one of these places, because it’s not a matter of if you will get sick but when.

The council really needs to explore ways in which they can legally get into these larger businesses and get them to follow important safety procedures.

This virus has shown us an entire breakdown of leadership from DC on down and no one willing to make life saving difficult decisions.


#1 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.17.20 at 6:31 pm

The lack of hospitalizations, due to the age groups who are mostly infected with this virus in Sioux Falls, is a false sense of security. The lack of a shelter-in-place order will only allow the infected to infect the more vulnerable age groups and those with pre-existing conditions regardless of age. Ten Haken and the councils bailing on this issue is a bad decision. Plus, it will only embolden the deniers and those who are on the fence with this issue and make things worse in terms of promoting an overall social distancing approach/strategy.

People will die because of Republican leaders and their pivoting, I am afraid.

#2 "Woodstock" on 04.17.20 at 6:37 pm

“Yah, he walked into this crisis with Chic-Fil-A, and it looks like he’s going to wonder in it now as a chicken himself”…. #PluckPluckPluck

#3 PJ on 04.17.20 at 6:49 pm

One of the problems with the SIP was that it comes after a month of pretty much already SIP. It was just going to be a heavy lift to get this passed.

One thing that I had not considered was the essential/non-essential business. For instance Cliff Avenue Greenhouse is non-essential, but Walmart is essential, yet it sells gardening merchandise. The ordinance would seem to be unfairly applied in those instances.

I’m wondering about the endgame here. How long do we keep businesses shuttered? Middle of May? June? I just don’t think that is sustainable. Flattening the curve is good, but it lengthens the time businesses are closed. Do we slowly re-open businesses if the curve stays flat?

The end of the meeting was painful to watch. No direction, just a lot of ideas being thrown out on the table. It was like an ADHD convention. Things were coming from everywhere.

Stay safe everyone!

#4 That's Some Kind of Partnership Sanford and Avera Have on 04.17.20 at 6:59 pm

I watched the 4 hour meeting also.

Both Jill Franken, the Sioux Falls Director of Public Health and the doctor representing Avera warned the Mayor and the Council……”more needs to be done”.

Sanford did not support doing more.

I think Councilor Starr said it best, “I think we are going to look back at this in hind-sight and wished we had done more.”

#5 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 04.17.20 at 7:00 pm

Older Republicans will die because younger Republicans are fighting.

#6 l3wis on 04.17.20 at 7:18 pm

The one thing I learned from the city’s response to tornado cleanup and this crisis is that the city has an auto-pilot council and mayor and we are pretty much on our own.

#7 Reliable Voter on 04.17.20 at 7:25 pm

I watched the meeting today. Public health lost. Instead of asking business owners to figure out how to operate safely going forward – perhaps asking the city health department for guidance and securing ppe, the Council retreated and devolved in to a discussion of whether or not more forceful language asking for the desired stay-at-home behavior would suffice.

Also, Councilors, you should let voters elect the city attorney if you are going to defer to his judgement.

#8 The Guy From Guernsey on 04.17.20 at 7:33 pm

The Mayor has absolutely no conviction.

#9 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.17.20 at 7:34 pm

“… an auto-pilot council and mayor and we are pretty much on our own.”

This has pretty much been true since crime began to rise under Huether. #DoWeStillHaveStreetCleaners?

Ten Haken’s caving-in on the shelter-in-place order is a classic example of how the business community controls Republicans. Oh, I am sorry, I mean “Red Mayors” and other “Red” leaders.

#10 l3wis on 04.17.20 at 7:35 pm

Four hours I will never get back. One excuse after another. Loved it when PTH said he was ‘sick of people calling him and tattle tailing on their employer’. Wakeup, dumb-A, maybe that should tell you something.

You are right, the health department should be voluntarily going to these places and ‘gently’ showing them how to work safely.

I agree, city attorney should be elected. This guy is a disgrace to public service and even a disgrace to our military. If this is what the JAG Corps produces . . . wow!

On an unrelated note, Mike Pence is now wearing makeup on TV, I just saw an interview with him on the PBS news hour and he looked like a hooker. Birds of a feather . . . Get orange together.

#11 The Guy From Guernsey on 04.17.20 at 7:36 pm

Well, Sanford Health needs sick people for their hydroxychloroquine study … so, there’s that.

#12 The Guy From Guernsey on 04.17.20 at 7:42 pm

Was “Very Stable Genius” the parade marshall for the little parade which was held down in Taupeville in honor and therapy support of Hizzoner?

#13 Reliable Voter on 04.17.20 at 7:44 pm

Is the Mayor going to call Chris Cuomo to let him know he didn’t have the guts to do what he asked the Governor to do? Courage of my convictions – walk the walk – talk tough – all that.

#14 "I was for the shelter-in-place order before I was against it...." on 04.17.20 at 7:53 pm

Maybe that means that hookers are going to get a piece of the action, when it comes to PPP (Paycheck Protection Plan).

I get a kick out of how over 8000 people liked ThuneHaken’s FB page piece about supporting his viral positions Thursday night, with a support the mayor parade in front of his house, then the next day he changes his position.

#15 l3wis on 04.17.20 at 8:00 pm

PTH. Tone Deaf and Color Blind.

#16 Chic-Fil-A: The new Dillard's on 04.17.20 at 8:09 pm

For years we never knew that Kennedy took missiles out of Turkey, but so far it doesn’t look like Kennedy Noem, I mean Krisiti Noem, has blinked on the shelter-in-place order, but “Red Mayor” Khrushchev sure has.

( and Woodstock adds: “I wonder if Ten Haken is going to campaign for Greg?”….. “Because they both like to be for an administration building and an order before they are against one”…. )

#17 "Woodstock" on 04.17.20 at 8:17 pm

“After the hydroxychloroquine trials fail, maybe Sanford should fire up the Laetrile debate once again”…

#18 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.17.20 at 8:26 pm


No, I think they had a float of me in effigy, however.

A photo of it will be published in next weeks copy of the Taupeville Times.

Oh, and I don’t care if they make fun of me on how I dress, either, as long as my effigy has me dressed with a medium narrow tie. #NoSneakers

#19 COVID-19. WE'RE ON IT. on 04.17.20 at 8:42 pm

I couldn’t help but notice that most of the cars in the Ten Haken Taupeville Parade were white in color. It looked like a political parody of an Elvis funeral procession, if you ask me.

( and Woodstock adds: “Yah, they say Elvis was still alive and watching his funeral procession from his pool house, too”… )

#20 Reliable Voter on 04.17.20 at 9:08 pm

The Mayor’s twitter now advocates a “pivot to a less restrictive strategy” but I thought I heard the phrase “use CDC guidelines as cover” during the last few minutes of the meeting today. So full retreat and rationalization.

#21 Observer on 04.17.20 at 9:09 pm

When in the military there was this cook, he was a good cook and one day I asked this food while good was pretty bland, so why not spice it up a little. He said if I did that half the people would like it and half wouldn’t, so I don’t do anything – and everybody hates it. So quit trying to please everybody – put the skunk on the table.

We have drunk driving laws because people will drink and drive and kill themselves. And others.

We have texting while driving laws because people text while driving and kill themselves. And others.

During this pandemic we need shelter in place laws because people will catch covid19 and die. And give it to others.

The pandemic will end, DUI and texting will not.

#22 l3wis on 04.17.20 at 9:12 pm

Observer, best comment ever!

#23 My Mistake Mike on 04.17.20 at 10:45 pm

Observer nails it!

Just when there was a flicker of hope for our mayor, he went back into his cocoon and caved like all the other spineless “red” politicians.

I see the Sioux Falls COVID is now blowing up in PTH’s home town of Worthington. Oh, the sad irony.

#24 AZ Father on 04.18.20 at 9:23 am

PTH called dad to complain, Dad says buck up while I bunker in place in AZ?

#25 You Only Heard One Side of The Story on 04.18.20 at 9:36 am

As I watched Wednesday’s regular City Council meeting and yesterday’s special Council meeting…..

I kept wondering….

Why am I only hearing public input from business owners…..

Then I realized WHY….

Because those who would give public input about the other side of the story were doing what federal, state and local authorities (including our own mayor) have been asking us to do for the last 38 days…..

We were at home QUARANTINED!!!!!

#26 Celtic6 on 04.18.20 at 11:48 am

so much for worrying about the constituents , of Sioux Falls hes worried more about his next tv appearance.

#27 The Guy From Guernsey on 04.18.20 at 12:07 pm

C-19. WE’RE ON IT,
yah, when did the uniform color motif of conformity for Taupester vehicles change from black to white?
Or, is the white, mostly crossover SUV-type of vehicle the choice of the liberal hipsters who form the real political base for PTH, regardless his party registration?

#28 The Guy From Guernsey on 04.18.20 at 12:24 pm

Brilliant! Reinventing a role for laetrile in a post epidemiological apolyptic society might be a great way for the croo… errr, ahhh… ‘entrpreneurs’ behind the local peach festival to gain some steam toward re-establishing the event.

#29 D@ily Spin on 04.18.20 at 12:32 pm

There’s a major pandemic and Avera is laying off. It’s an obvious way of saying give us federal funding or you die.

The SBA money dried up in days. I suspect it was pocketed by fantasy business insider republicans and never reached employees.

Corruption isn’t funny anymore. You’re killing us and it’s not with laughter.

#30 D@ily Spin on 04.18.20 at 12:46 pm

Back before I started using the VA, Avera billed me 9k for a few hospital days. I had insurance with a 2k deductible. I asked for a statement but didn’t get one. They sued in small claims. Their evidence was 100 pages I finally saw in court. I fingered through it. It was 4 copies of the same bill. I pointed this out to the judge and quickly realized she was in on the scam.
Do not carry insurance. They collect from it then come to you for more. Avera gets judgements. When it’s about 100k establish a residence in a favorable state and take bankruptcy. Avera isn’t hurting. They use judgement write offs against good income to cook the books.

#31 COVID-19. WE'RE ON IT. on 04.18.20 at 1:32 pm

“….Or, is the white, mostly crossover SUV-type of vehicle the choice of the liberal hipsters who form the real political base for PTH, regardless his party registration?”

No wonder they like his stuff on FB and Linkedin.

#32 "Woodstock" on 04.18.20 at 1:34 pm


“I like your peach theory”…. “Perhaps, the once ‘Georgia Mafia’ has morphed into a modern day ‘Dutch Mafia’.”

#33 D@ily Spin on 04.18.20 at 4:49 pm

It’s not a council meeting. It’s 4 hours of high school detention where you go home trying to remember what you did to deserve it.

#34 Steve on 04.19.20 at 7:53 am

This parade of supporters or butt kissers, whatever you choose to call them is laughable. Was this done to help the Mayor with decisions or to help keep his ego above water? Where is the show of support for the thousands visiting the unemployment office? I believe that is needed just as strongly.

#35 Agitator on 04.19.20 at 9:36 am

It looked like a lot of cars, maybe more than the Barrelhouse/Kravens a few weeks ago. Could the snitch be in that line?

#36 Agitator on 04.19.20 at 9:37 am

It looked like a lot of cars, maybe more than the Barrelhouse/Kravens a few weeks ago.

#37 The Guy From Guernsey on 04.19.20 at 12:37 pm

“Perhaps, the once ‘Georgia Mafia’ has morphed into a modern day ‘Dutch Mafia’.”

Although perhaps unintentional, your reply contains a clever double entendre.
TBH I am not certain if the local fruit mafia traces its origin to the Soviet Republic of Georgia, or that it might be Ukraine, Belarus, or just plain Russia.

#38 "Woodstock" on 04.19.20 at 5:51 pm

“Oh no, I was referring to Hamilton Jordan and Jody Powell”…. “If you remember right, Jordan used to wear blue jeans and boots (no tie) into the West Wing long before it was acceptable”…. #IsItYet?

“As far as a ‘double entendre,’ well, I haven’t had a ‘double entendre’ since the time I then got sick for three days”…..

“But on a more serious note, if you described a threesome with a double entendre, would a multiplier effect come into play?”

#39 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.19.20 at 5:57 pm

Trumps makes all of his Cabinet say nice things about him at cabinet meetings. John Kerry Ten Haken makes his supporters hold a parade for him in front of his house. Apparently, the virus is not the only thing that is contagious.

#40 Scott D Hudson on 04.19.20 at 10:49 pm

Liberal hipsters like PTH?

#41 Agitator on 04.20.20 at 8:36 am

Maybe Avera ran out of patients to double collect. Non profit organization. Needs federal funding the fraudulent way.

#42 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.20.20 at 2:24 pm

“Liberal hipsters like PTH?”

Kerry was against the war before he was for it. JKTH was for an order before he was against it.