SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The mayor of South Dakota’s largest city says more needs to be done to slow the spread of the COVID-19 in the area. It’s why he is now requesting Governor Kristi Noem extend two executive orders to everyone in Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties.

Mayor Paul TenHaken started his Monday briefing by expressing appreciation to Smithfield Foods management for shutting down the meat processing plant in the city following a COVID-19 outbreak in employees.

As of Sunday, 293 people connected to the plant have tested positive for the virus. TenHaken says while the closure should be helpful to slow the spread of the illness, it isn’t something to celebrate.

“It’s not great news when you have to have your fourth largest employer shutter their doors because of COVID,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said.

He’s highly concerned with the case numbers in Sioux Falls currently, saying the window for mitigation is dwindling right now. He shared how the city compares to others of similar size as far as COVID-19 cases.

TenHaken says hospitalizations are low now but he said that is a trailing indicator. When hospitalizations are high, mitigation efforts are too late. He said it takes weeks to see the impacts of mitigation efforts.

Because of that, he’s asking Governor Kristi Noem to issue a shelter in place order for Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties. TenHaken says he’s hoping the governor can revise an order she issued for people in those areas who are older than 65 years of age and people who have chronic medical conditions to include everyone in the counties.

He feels the city has taken a number of steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 but says there is more that can be done.

TenHaken says he is asking for a three week shelter-in-place for the area.

The mayor says this would limit people’s movements outside of their homes except for essential activities such as getting groceries or caring for others.

TenHaken has also asked for an isolation center to be set up in Sioux Falls. This would be for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or people who have been in contact with positive patients.

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