SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota is in a unique position when it comes to combating COVID-19. The Sioux Falls area is seeing a massive surge – most of which is tied to Smithfield workers and contacts, while the rest of the state has so far, stayed pretty flat.

This interactive chart below looks at the cases on a per capita basis, to help normalize the information across different population sizes.

We compared the Sioux Falls area (Minnehaha and Lincoln counties), Beadle County (which saw an early surge in cases, but has since flattened its curve and the rest of the state.

What’s happening in each area?

Sioux Falls area (Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties)

The area of South Dakota’s largest city is seeing one of the fastest COVID-19 case count spikes across the county, many of which have been tied to the Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant. The plant has been shut down “indefinitely,” and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is on the ground to help.


Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) has issued a stay-at-home order for those 65+ and with chronic medical conditions in Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties.

The City of Sioux Falls is looking at issuing a stay-at-home order for the city. Mayor Paul TenHaken asked Noem to issue one, but she refused.

When you look at active cases, as of Wednesday, 95 percent were in these two counties.

Beadle County

This is where the first major spike in South Dakota was seen. The county with a population of just above 18,000 hit the City of Huron hard. Two deaths in the county were reported, including a state lawmaker. However, since the first of April, the curve in Beadle has remained flat.


Beadle County and the City of Huron acted fast with orders issued by both county and city levels of government.

The rest of South Dakota

Looking at the state’s numbers without Minnehaha, Lincoln and Beadle Counties, it shows a relatively flat curve so far. Modeling released by Noem’s office this week shows that number the state will peak a little earlier than expected.


Noem has refused to issue statewide stay-at-home orders, but has asked residents to take action by following her directives. Municipalities and tribal governments have created a patchwork of regulations across the state.

📈 To calculate this section, we removed both the populations and cases of Minnehaha, Lincoln and Beadle Counties to calculate the per capita rate of the rest of the state.

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