Governor Noem says state had no knowledge of abandoned mine

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As the number of positive COVID-19 cases in South Dakota passes 4,200, there are still many unknowns about the virus.

South Dakota Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says officials are still learning how transmittable the coronavirus is, calling it unpredictable.

“The CDC just updated its guidance on close contacts today where they’re defining a close contact as somebody who’s been within six feet of a person for 15 minutes, so that’s a lot longer than what we’ve been working with before,” Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said.

Governor Kristi Noem says the materials sent to the White House regarding tribal checkpoints on state and federal highways have been received and acknowledged, and that every action by the state and tribes sets a precedent.

“We can’t just look at this situation in a virus, in a pandemic. If we allow checkpoints to shut down traffic in this situation then we are setting precedent for that to happen far into the future in many other situations as well,” Governor Kristi Noem said.

Black Hawk residents impacted by a sinkhole into an abandoned mine in early May expressed concern for their safety during today’s conference call.

“They want to know the extent of that mine underneath the neighborhood and are looking for a professional firm and engineering firm that can come in and safely assess it to know really what the risks are and how they can proceed forward,” Noem said.

Noem says the state had no knowledge of the mine prior to the sinkhole.

“It’s not in our records. There’s indication that there’s public records at the county level and potentially at the federal level, but the state had no knowledge that this old mine was ever in place,” Noem said.

Noem says the state will partner with the county to help file a FEMA application.

Noem added that the state did surface mining on the land in the past, with no indication of the mine below, and that reclamation work was completed before the property was sold again.

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