Mass testing site at WHS wrapping up Thursday

Local News

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — After nearly 3,200 tests through three days, the mass testing site at Washington High School for Smithfield employees and their families is wrapping up at 8 p.m. Thursday, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) announced during her media briefing. 

Noem highlighted the fact more tests will be completed will equal more positive test results, which she said is a good thing. She said finding the positive cases related to Smithfield will help protect workers as the plant reopens. She thanked Avera, the National Guard and those who helped with the testing site.

Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said the results from the mass testing event are added with all the tests completed in Minnehaha County. There were 698 new tests and 101 new cases in Minnehaha County announced on Thursday.

After 8 p.m., Thursday Smithfield employees can use an Avera Clinic on Marion Road for testing. 

Malsam-Rysdon said the state is not testing people who have previously had COVID-19. The state is not retesting people. 

Noem also noted she will be holding calls with Smithfield employees Thursday and Friday about hearing concerns. She said the company helped facilitate those calls. 

On Thursday’s National Day of Prayer, Noem called for people to lift up each other, especially those on the front lines against COVID-19. 

On tourism, Noem said South Dakota will encourage visitors when people are ready to travel when the virus spread slows down. 

On current hospitalizations, which have roughly averaged around 70 each day, Noem said the state is preparing for a need of 2,200 hospital bed capacity by the middle of June. She said the capacity of 5,000 beds will also be prepared for if needed.

On if she wears a mask, Noem said it is a decision each person should make for themselves and their own families. She says she does have masks but hasn’t been to public events where wearing one would be necessary.

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