S.D. Dept. of Health: More than 80 employees test positive for COVID-19 at Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls


PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem says she shared the state’s plans for COVID-19 mitigation with a doctor on the White House Task Force on Wednesday.

Noem says National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci agrees that a one-size fits all approach isn’t necessary in South Dakota.

Noem said Fauci reviewed the prediction models presented by the state last week. Noem said the mitigation efforts already in place have cut projected peaks in half.

Noem said positive COVID-19 cases will continue to increase. She said it is something we knew would happen weeks ago. She said the good thing is people are also recovering and getting better.

She is asking people to continue practicing social distancing. Noem said many people are stepping up to help people. She thanked people helping health care workers, people donating to charities and people who are taking it seriously.

Noem said Fauci was impressed with how South Dakota was responding to social distance measures.

Noem said the Easter holiday will look a lot different this year. She is asking people to start new Easter traditions.

She repeated her requests for prayers on this statewide day of prayer.

Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon spoke to how the Department of Health is working with Smithfield Foods management in Sioux Falls. She says there are more than 80 cases of COVID-19 in employees of the plant.

Malsam-Rysdon says the most important thing to do for employees is stay home if not feeling well. She says employers across the state are doing the right thing as far as paying employees who are sick.

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken also addressed the hot spot in the city during a briefing on Wednesday.

Wednesday afternoon, Smithfield shared its online response to the cases.

On Beadle County, Malsam-Rysdon said the county won’t move from the community spread category. She said the disease is very contagious and believes more community spread may happen.

Noem called the recent numbers in Beadle County very encouraging.

As for how she is doing, Noem said she has not been tested for COVID-19 and she’s felt good. Her family is practicing social distancing, as she hopes other South Dakota families are doing.

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