PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) had an update on the spread of COVID-19 in South Dakota Thursday afternoon.

New COVID-19 numbers reveal there are now 46 positive cases and 16 recoveries in the state of South Dakota. There are 125 pending tests. Gov. Noem says she believes pending tests should be down to 0 by Monday.

Gov. Noem said hospitals are preparing and working for when surge capacity would happen. South Dakota’s peak isn’t estimated to happen for weeks.

Noem said she is praying for Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and his family and hopes he feels better soon.

On unemployment benefits, the governor says there is more than a 1,500 increase since last week. She said to expect bigger numbers in the weeks ahead. Noem said people will need to sustain activities for at least 8 weeks or longer.

Noem said there haven’t been any more positive COVID-19 tests from female inmates at the women’s prison, including three who have been returned.

The governor thanked the workers at the public health lab. She says testing at other hospitals is now being processed. She called on people to begin donating blood.

On private lab tests, Noem said there are 30 active cases of COVID-19. She pointed out that 16 patients have recovered, and there are 1,973 negative cases. She says the state can only process roughly 800 tests per day, all together. There is still priority for testing.

Malsam-Rysdon said the state and health care providers have to be “good stewards” with who gets tested and who doesn’t get tested.

Gov. Noem said there will be a point when testing doesn’t define the spread of COVID-19. She said everyone is following protocols. She’s not second-guessing what doctors are doing when it comes to testing patients and or not testing.

Noem said every emergency department is working to help respond. On a state pandemic plan, Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said that plan is active and hospitals around the state have plans active too.

Gov. Kristi Noem said supplies for tests and health care workers are good, and they will continue to monitor and reach out to federal government if help is needed.

Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said the state feels good about the capacity of available beds in the state. She said the department is working with hospitals across the state to constantly monitor.

Malsam-Rysdon said the South Dakota Department of Health is working with Monument Health with the Meade County case. Gov. Noem said she believes anyone who came in contact with that case will likely get tested.

On President Trump’s Easter Sunday restart date, Noem said the President is working on a plan for the whole country and she’s focused on South Dakota. She thinks the plan for South Dakota is the best for South Dakota. Noem said she doesn’t see South Dakota back to “normal” for many months. She said we can’t stop the virus, but we can slow it down. “It’s an enemy we’re all fighting.”

On the bills passed by the 2020 State Legislature, Noem said she’s talking with state representatives about how COVID-19 will affect the budget and other future bills. She says legislators won’t be going to Pierre, they will be meeting electronically. On elections, Noem said a plan will be discussed Thursday night.

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