DOH says enhanced COVID-19 testing starts at Smithfield

KELOLAND.com Original

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. On Friday, April 3, 2020, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly asserting that eating alkaline foods will stave off the novel coronavirus, which has a pH level of 5.5 to 8.5. Donald Schaffner, extension specialist in food science at Rutgers University, told the AP. “The human body is designed to be really good at maintaining its pH. … the best way to keep from getting a virus is to stay away from people.” (NIAID-RML via AP)

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Enhanced testing of Smithfield processing plant employees in Sioux Falls is in response to a COVID-19 outbreak there, South Dakota Department of Health officials said in a news conference Thursday.

The DOH said Smithfield is a COVID-19 hot spot and is linked to at least 80 cases in Minnehaha County.

The county had 46 additional cases of Thursday. Dr. Josh Clayton of the DOH would not specify if those new cases were linked to Smithfield.

Clayton and Kim Malsam-Rysdon, the secretary of the DOH, said on average, a person with COVID-19 comes in close contact with 10 individuals. Close contact includes situations such as spending five minutes in someone’s house or riding in a car.

Individuals who have had such contact with a COVID-19 confirmed Smithfield case are being contacted, Clayton said.

The DOH is also helping to make sure other similar businesses know of Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for essential workers and food processing plants would fit that essential category, Clayton said.

Listen to audio of the call courtesy of South Dakota Broadcasters Association.


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