PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem started out Wednesday’s briefing discussing the Smithfield Foods plant. She said the state is working with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Smithfield management on efforts to reopen the plant.
Noem says a CDC team is in Sioux Falls to tour the plant and the state is doing contact tracing with Smithfield employees. 518 Smithfield employees have tested positive and 126 people who have had contact with Smithfield workers have tested positive.
The Governor is continuing to encourage the use of the Care 19 app. Noem says the app will be available for Android by the end of the week. She says this app is helpful in doing the contact tracing for COVID-19 patients.
Noem says the state has supplies to use Abbott ID machines for faster testing. The machines are going to go out to nine health care sites in the state.
She says data is showing that South Dakotans are bending the curve with mitigation efforts currently in place. Noem stated that the peak in Sioux Falls will be the middle of May, two weeks earlier than expected. 1,200 – 1,300 beds will be needed for that. Noem says the state believes hospital systems have the capacity to handle that. The peak for South Dakota overall is still in mid-June.
Noem thanked health care partners across the state. She says they have gone above and beyond to help in the process.
Noem says while projections are looking better, the state is still planning for the higher end of cases.
State epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton says new projections show 600 ventilators will be needed at the peak with 2,500 hospital beds. Noem says this peak ventilator and bed number is half what had been originally projected.
Dr. David Basel with Avera Health says the coronavirus will still stretch the health care systems but the mitigation efforts give health professionals a fighting chance. Basel emphasizes the need to continue practicing physical distance.
Gov. Noem previewed the town hall meeting she has planned for Wednesday night. She says the economic impact will be a focus of the town hall. You can watch the town hall on KELOLAND.com at 7 p.m. C.T.