SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota remains one of seven states with no stay-at-home order. But the situation in Sioux Falls, where the majority of COVID-19 cases are reported, has escalated as dispute between Mayor Paul TenHaken and Governor Kristi Noem over her office refusing to issue an order for Lincoln and Minnehaha Counites.
Sioux Falls began gaining national for its unique situation last week.
Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken appeared on CNN on April 7, to talk about trying to balance protecting people’s rights versus public health.
TenHaken to CNN’s John King, April 7th: We’re in a red state here and I’m a red mayor and even though I’m in a non-partisan office, I’m a Republican, You have two schools on this: shut everything down, tell me what to do government. And then you have the people who say don’t you dare, that’s my right to assemble.
However, as the number of cases of coronavirus climbed at Smithfield Foods, it became clear that Mayor TenHaken and Governor Kristi Noem were at odds over how to handle the situation. Noem denied TenHaken’s stay-at-home order request for the two counties which make up the Sioux Falls area.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate considering the data and the science and that facts that we have,” Governor Kristi Noem said in response to the mayor’s request.
Wednesday, CBS This Morning interviewed Ten Haken.
Reporter David Begnaud for CBS This Morning, April 15: What are the numbers that you believe, in terms of data, that is driving your stay-home request
TenHaken: Well right now we’re doubling, have been doubling every four days for the last 18 days.
Chris Cuomo on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time April 14: The governor’s right, you don’t need statewide coverage, but you’re in the population center.
Ten Haken also appeared on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, where host Chris Cuomo offered his assistance in getting Sioux Falls health care workers more personal protective equipment.
“So let’s do this, right after this I’ll make sure my producers give you my number, if you get into a PPE hole and you want to find fast resources, I”ll help you network through New York state and some other resources in other high volume states,” Cuomo said.
Mayor TenHaken responded to the national attention at Wednesday’s city news briefing.
“I don’t like having Sioux Falls being in the spotlight for having the number one hot spot in the country. I want to fix it, I want to get past this,” TenHaken said.
TenHaken says he’s been contacted by at least 15 media outlets today alone, but doesn’t have time to respond to all of them. He also says he’s been texting with the governor and even though they have a difference of opinion, they can still have a good relationship.