Governor Noem: 70% of Minnehaha County’s positive cases are tied to Smithfield plant

Coronavirus

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) – For several days, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken has urged Governor Kristi Noem to order a shelter in place for Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties.

However, Tuesday afternoon, the governor said she would not issue a shelter in place or set up an isolation center.

“What we are doing each and every day by getting up and using personal responsibility and taking actions at the local and state level, it is working,” Governor Kristi Noem said. “We are flattening our curve in South Dakota.”

Governor Noem says 70% of Minnehaha’s positive cases are tied to the Smithfield facility.

“We have 438 employees there that have tested positive for COVID-19, we also have 107 that are their contacts, who became positive because of being family members, friends, or in contact with those employees,” Noem said.

She says a shelter in place would not have prevented an outbreak at Smithfield.

However Sioux Falls city leaders are urging Noem to issue a shelter in place for both Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties.

“I don’t believe it is appropriate considering the data, facts, and science that we have,” Noem said. “I do know that the mayor has some tools available, and that can be a local decision that he and the city council can take, if they choose to do, as far as me taking action to put a shelter in place in Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties, I will not be doing that today.”

Noem says the Department of Health does a high level of contact tracing with people who test positive for COVID-19 and the state is already isolating people in their homes and at hotels.

As of Tuesday morning, the state confirmed 120 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 988. More than 800 of those cases are in the Sioux Falls area.

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