Health official said South Dakota working on increasing bed capacity; Noem said emergency COVID19 legislation coming Original

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — State officials are working with health care providers to expand the number of beds in South Dakota as it relates to COVID-19, Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said during this afternoon’s news conference.

Malsam-Rysdon said the state has 2,300 available hospital beds. Health care facilities are working to expand that capacity, she said.

The state also received a second shipment of personal protection equipment needed by health care workers, Malsam-Rysdon said.

Although, Gov. Kristi Noem said today’s COVID-19 positive cases were lower today than she was expecting as of last week, the state must remain on course as cases aren’t expected to peak until late May or early June.

Positive cases in South Dakota went up to 58, 12 more from Thursday (46). Recoveries also went up to 21 from 16 on Thursday. 

“Whatever we are doing we must sustain,” Noem said.

She has no plans as of now to enact further restrictions. Although some cities have passed ordinances to ban gatherings of 10 or more people in businesses such as bars and restaurants that carry a criminal penalty, Gov. Noem said, what fits for one city may not fit another city.

But the state does plan other response to COVID-19.

The South Dakota State Legislature will meet in June to discuss adjusting the state budget in relation to COVID-19, Noem said.

Gov. Noem said the impact of COVID-19 is significant and the special session will be needed to address its impact on the state budget.

Although she will sign bills into laws, “I’m not going to spend (the) money,” Gov. Noem said.

The Legislature will also review emergency COVID-19 bills next week on Veto Day, Noem said.

“…once I sign them, they will be enacted,” Noem said of COVID–19 emergency legislation.

The legislation will be temporary and will sunset, Noem said

The state Legislature will meet remotely on Monday, March 30 for Veto Day, but some legislators may chose to be in the Capitol. Any that come in person will need to be screened, she said.

Noem and Malsam-Rysdon said the officials continue to work on models on the spread and impact of COVID-19 in the state

The state is also communicating with officials on Tribal Lands, Malsam-Rysdon said.

Minnehaha County moved to 18 confirmed cases, the most in South Dakota. Beadle County is second with 16 positive cases. The largest age group is 50 to 59 with 16 positive cases. You can get the latest numbers at COVID.SD.GOV.

There are now 20 pending cases and the negative tests went up above 2,000 to 2,387 from 1,973 on Thursday.

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