PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Thursday, a team with the CDC toured Smithfield Foods the Sioux Falls meatpacking plant. They’re putting together a plan for Smithfield to re-open. Gov. Noem expects to receive the report in the coming days.
The governor says the state is working closely with the Smithfield plant to make sure it is a safe environment so employees to return to work. She adds that the state is testing anyone who worked at the plant and has symptoms, even if they’re mild.
“There are several states that are not testing like we are, we are testing a higher percentage and we are releasing that information to the public and other states are not doing that,” Governor Kristi Noem said.
The governor says the number we should all be focusing on is the number of hospitalizations. As of Thursday, Noem says just 36 people in the hospital.
“We are planning for 5,000 beds for COVID-19 patients, 1,300 vents, even though our projections and our modeling shows us that capacity will not be necessary, we are still going to over prepare,” Noem said.
Test results aren’t the only numbers the governor is monitoring, Noem says she’s also tracking unemployment.
“This week we had over 6,000 claims, 6,152 claims were filed, add that to last weeks claims of 8,100 weekly claims, we are setting some unfortunate records here,” Noem said.
She says before COVID-19, the state was seeing about 150 claims a week. Next week pandemic unemployment applications become available. Noem expects claim numbers to continue to rise.