Governor Noem to bring in National Guard to help hospitals prepare for COVID-19


PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) – ​Governor Kristi Noem is bringing in the national guard to help the state in its preparations for COVID-19.

Noem said federal funding will help cover the cost of using the National Guard to help prepare for the virus.

“They are going to help us set up hospital capacity in Rapid City and Sioux Falls first and then we will continue to look at other communities that will need help,” Governor Kristi Noem said.

Noem also touched on the skyrocketing number of unemployment claims, calling it alarming.

“During the week of March 22 through March 28, a total of 6,645 initial weekly claims for unemployment benefits were filled and filed at the DEpartment of Labor and Regulation, this is an increase of 4,884 claims over the prior weeks total of 1,761,” Noem said.

The Labor Department is urging people to use resources online to file, instead of calling.

“Our telephone lines are very clogged with individuals trying to file, there could be a wait time of about an hour and a half,” Department of Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman said.

Noem says with the virus spreading, we need to continue to prepare for the future. She reiterated that everyone needs to use proper health practices to flatten the curve.

“The situation we are facing in our state is very fluid. The facts are changing by the hour,” Noem said. “I think there are a lot of misconceptions in South Dakota, people think that if we put people inside for two weeks and let them out, that the virus would be gone, nobody would get sick, and everything would be perfect, and that isn’t true.”

Additionally, the governor says the state is preparing for a second outbreak of the virus that could possibly happen in the fall.

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