Sanford CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft says he will not wear a mask in the future after he recently had COVID-19 and has been cleared to go back to work.

Krabbenhoft who isn't a doctor but noted the information he has received on weekly meetings at Sanford gives him at least seven months of immunity, potentially longer and that he won’t wear a mask as a "symbolic gesture". The length of immunity has been a hot topic of debate amongst medical professionals throughout the entire pandemic. This has to be met with a mix of emotions from those inside the walls of Sanford Health considering the current landscape in both North Dakota and South Dakota. This stance by Krabbenhoft is different from my personal experience when our family had COVID-19 in October. We were advised by health professionals to continue to go about our daily lives as if we hadn't been infected and continue to wear a mask and social distance. His stance is also different from what the
Center for Disease Control is currently advising on their website. The CDC advises that you continue to wear a mask and social distance as much as possible whether you have had COVID-19 or not.

 “At this time, whether you have had COVID-19 or not, the best ways to prevent infection are to wear a mask in public places, stay at least 6 feet away from other people, frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and avoid crowds and confined spaces.”

Additionally, on the CDC website, they go more in-depth by asking the question "If an affected person has clinically recovered, should the person continue to wear a cloth face mask?"

"Yes. It is recommended that all persons, with a few exceptions, wear cloth face coverings in public.1 The primary purpose of cloth face coverings is to limit transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from infected persons who may be infectious but do not have clinical symptoms of illness or may have early or mild symptoms that they do not recognize. Cloth face coverings may provide reassurance to others in public settings and be a reminder of the need to maintain social distancing."

The conflicting messaging throughout the pandemic has been frustrating to everyone and the wording from the CEO of Sanford can be conflicting. Krabbenhoft is already receiving a lot of criticism across social media including from a doctor at rival Avera Health who took exception with his comments.

in their best interest."

It does appear there is light at the end of the tunnel with Krabbenhoft detailing out the plans for vaccines to be available to staff within weeks and enough supplies to combat the current number of COVID-19 patients at Sanford Health.

There has to be a nuance in life and there has to be nuance during a pandemic.

Whether you agree or disagree with the comments of Krabbenhoft, you can clearly see his desire to find some middle ground in operating a health company during a once in a lifetime pandemic.

We have to look at the good news and the bad and find the middle ground to move forward in a reasonable way and hopefully, the end of this pandemic will be here soon.

But now is also not the time to let our guard down considering the severity of where we currently stand with the virus and masks are essential according to the top professionals in the field whether you have had COVID-19 or not.

Personally, I will continue to wear my mask even after recovering from COVID-19 in October whether as a symbolic gesture to support those who still need to wear a mask; in addition to the current information hasn't unified the medical community in supporting the idea of not wearing a mask for those who have recovered.

For more information on Sanford Health, you can visit their website. 

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