PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem is asking South Dakotans to continue practicing social distancing and download the Care19 App.
She says so far, 14,000 people have downloaded the app, which helps with contact tracing when someone is diagnosed with COVID-19. She says she needs many more people get the app so that as case numbers go up, it is easier for the state to do the contact tracing.
Noem says people in the state need to stick with the mitigation efforts for several more weeks as the cases aren’t expected to peak in the state until June.
The governor announced a group working on the Opening up America plan for the state of South Dakota. Noem says it will be based in medicine and every member has a connection to the medical industry.
Noem gave few details on a pending executive order, instead encouraging people to read it for themselves.
She says it will give hog producers more ‘flexibility in their operations.’ Noem says pork producers’ options are “very limited” right now.
Noem says she is aware of the difficult situation people in the ag industry are in right now with the Smithfield Foods plant closed. The governor says a formal report of the CDC’s tour of the plant will be available soon. The report for the plant includes recommendations to take to protect employees so it can reopen.
Governor Noem says nothing in the CDC’s report will be difficult to accomplish and once the recommednations are in place, Smithfield and the state can start to figure out when the plant can reopen again. It was closed indefinitely last week as it because the country’s top hotspot for COVID-19 cases. As of Monday, there are 891 cases in employees and their close contacts.
The governor says while the state has the Abbott testing equipment, it is in need of the supplies to conduct the tests. She’s continuing to advocate for more supplies in her talks with federal officials, including Vice President Mike Pence.
Noem addressed plans for health care systems to furlough some employees. She says the state is waiting for guidance on how to spend federal dollars it is receiving related to COVID-19. She expects health care systems are in the same position.
Noem says she thinks legislation in Congress might be holding up guidance.
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