Minnehaha County Auditor quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19 days after Election Day

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Two days after the election and a day after the vote counting ended, the busiest county auditor in the state is diagnosed with COVID-19.

Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz confirmed his diagnosis Thursday.

Thursday morning, Bob Litz announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19. The results came from a rapid response test, which can yield results in as little as 15 minutes.

The auditor’s staff and volunteer election workers are being notified as quickly as possible. During the vote counting process, Litz appeared to be wearing a mask much of the time, but there were times when his mask was not covering his mouth.

KELOLAND News took this picture on election night.

As you can see, counting votes is a very hands-on process. County commissioners are aware of the increased risk involved with a lot of people packed into one room.

“They did use the large room at the museum so they could try to get people spread out as much as possible to try to limit the number of people at the table. We did do temperature screening of the volunteers when they came, we asked the COVID questions that we are all getting used to now, so we certainly tried, unfortunately it is the reality of our community right now,” Minnehaha County Commissioner, Jean Bender said.

Litz will now quarantine himself but is able to coordinate some of his auditor duties over the phone. A release from the county says Litz has been in conversation with the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office regarding the election canvas. It will take place on Friday afternoon as scheduled.

“I visited with him this morning, he has very mild symptoms honestly. He’s a little frustrated because he would like to finish it up. This is his last election, but he was very compliant with the requirement that he needed to go home and quarantine. I told him once he got over the frustration and how hard he’s worked, he could probably sleep during the quarantine. So hopefully he’s doing that, but he was feeling fine,” Bender said.

The auditors office will be closed but staff will continue to work remotely. Workers are being advised to seek medical care and advice regarding testing if they become symptomatic.

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