SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In her first public statements since last Thursday, Governor Kristi Noem outlined the latest in the state of South Dakota’s COVID-19 response.
During a phone conversation with the state’s mayors and county officials, Noem says they discussed how communities are eligible for some of the state’s $1.25 billion from the CARES Act. She’s asking communities to track expenses related to COVID-19 so that the costs can be reimbursed.
The governor says there is separate funding set for tribes in the state; the CARES Act money is designated for South Dakota. There is also additional funding for education costs.
Noem says help from the federal government is welcome news for producers in the state including farmers and ranchers who have been struggling lately. One change she’s hoping to see yet is approval for selling meat inspected by South Dakota inspectors across state lines.
Governor Noem said she had a conference call with President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday. They discussed how children are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Noem says the hydroxychloroquine clinical trial is underway in South Dakota. Sanford, Avera and Monument Health are helping with the trial. The governor says participation is voluntary.
The governor says COVID-19 hospitalization rates have been steady, but the state might see an uptick in case numbers with the mass testing events that will take place in the coming weeks.
Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says people living in shelters and group facilities would be part of mass testing at some point. If there are cases in those locations now, Malsam-Rysdon says the state would like to do testing sooner rather than later so that positive patients can be isolated.
Malsam-Rysdon says as the state sees cases that could be connected to a business, it reaches out to the employer about changes to make to protect workers. She says mass testing could be used for critical infrastructure employees if there is a concern about a specific business.
Noem says the state continues to communicate with tribes regarding checkpoints, which the state wants to see moved off of U.S. and state highways.
Noem says there are no plans for a lawsuit, though the state is considering legal action. The state sent along a plan to tribes for consideration; she says she remains hopeful a resolution can be reached.
Noem discussed the sinkhole that’s forced families from their homes in Black Hawk. The governor says she will be holding a conference call with people directly impacted by the sinkhole.