SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The updated numbers from the South Dakota Department of Health on COVID-19 include 730 positive cases across the state. That’s an increase of 104 from yesterday. The number of deaths remains at six. There are now 197 recovered.
Minnehaha County has 527 cases– that accounts for 72 percent of all cases in the state.
293 of the 527 cases in Minnehaha County are people who work at Smithfield. That’s 55% of all cases in the county. Overall, 40% of all cases in the state of South Dakota are people who work at Smithfield.
The plant said in a news release today that they will be closing indefinitely in order to better handle the COVID-19 outbreak their employees are seeing. This comes after Gov. Kristi Noem and Mayor Paul TenHaken asked them to suspend operations for at least 14 days. But what sort of impact does the closure and the cases in general have on the employees?
“I’ve been in this community fo 25 years and I know people that have been working there that long. It is the lifeline of a lot of people in our community. A lot of people in our community depend on Smithfield. It’s a very important part of our economy and what was happening with all the stories that people are calling to tell us just was not fair. They needed to be heard and they needed for somebody to step forward and make sure that they were safe,” Nancy Reynoza with the South Dakota Dream Coalition said.
The South Dakota Dream Coalition is an immigrant advocacy group hoping to tell the stories of Smithfield employees and help them.