Governor Noem addresses latest COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota now has 21 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, up from 14 confirmed cases as of Saturday. Governor Kristi Noem and Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon held a press conference addressing the latest updates.

Of the seven new positive cases, six came from Beadle County, bringing their total to 10.

“Every case that we know of in Beadle county, and the one outlier in Brown County was tied to travel, or connection to someone who had already tested positive. Although, from the current investigations we’ve done with these individuals, we do believe that they have interacted with other people, and that Beadle County could be on the verge of community spread,” Governor Noem said.

Noem says they performed 58 high-priority tests in the state yesterday and were going to run 29 more today, with 700 other tests still needing to be processed.

“Currently the 700 tests that are pending are with commercial labs that are located outside the state of South Dakota. We do expect hospital systems within South Dakota to bring up their own lab capacity. We are working with the Avera System in particular to do that imminently. We expect that to be a matter of days,” Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said.

Noem continued to stress the importance of social distancing. When asked about shutting down businesses, the governor says she doesn’t have that ability.

“I can stand up as Governor and I can give a strong speech telling businesses to shutdown, but I don’t have the authority to enforce that. That enforcement, and those tools are at the local level. They’re with the mayors, they’re with the city councils, the county commissioners,” Noem said.

Of the 14 positive COVID-19 cases we knew about before today, Noem says six have recovered fully, though she reiterates that there’s still a long road ahead.

“We do not want anyone to think that this will be over by next week. We need you to continue to be diligent, to know that we are in this for several weeks yet, and we need to make wise decisions to deal with this virus as it makes its way through the population,” Noem said.

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