South Dakota launches coronavirus counseling program

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Hospital workers sit for a group counseling session at Elmhurst Hospital to talk about their experiences dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Friday, May 29, 2020, in New York. At hospitals around the country, nurses, doctors and other health care workers are reckoning with the psychological toll of the virus fight, coupled with fears that the disease could flare anew later this year. (AP Photo/Robert Bumsted)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota is launching a program to provide counseling and support for people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Social Services is encouraging people to call 211, a state crisis hotline, if they are feeling the stress or financial burden brought on by the pandemic. Department of Social Services Secretary Laurie Gill says the program, called “605 strong,” can connect people with counseling or financial assistance.

The state received a grant of $210,723 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to start the program. Meanwhile, health officials reported one more death from COVID-19, along with 56 new cases.

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