The number of confirmed cases in the state has increased from 129 to 988 since April 1 – when Governor Kristi Noem criticized “draconian measures” of social distancing to stop the spread of the virus in his state.
Noem had criticized the idea of quarantine as “herd mentality, not leadership” at a press conference, adding that “South Dakota is not New York.”
The state is now home to one of the largest groups of coronavirus epidemics, with 300 workers at a deadly virus-infected pork processing plant, according to the Washington Post.
The factory, Smithfield Foods, accounts for 5% of the country’s pork production and has been announced to be forced to close on Sunday.
“The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein factories that have closed in our industry, is dangerously pushing our country to the limit in terms of meat supply,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Smithfield. , in a report.
The Republican governor continues to resist a ruling, even though calls for such policies are increasing. The South Dakota State Medical Association wrote a letter to Noem on April 3 urging him to institute mandatory quarantine.
“A home stay order would give our health care professionals the time and resources they need to manage this pandemic,” the group wrote on its website. “We will soon be able to cope with the challenges and difficulties encountered in New York and other cities if an on-site shelter order is not issued immediately. “
South Dakota is one of five rural states, all headed by Republican governors, who continue to resist quarantine, including Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska and North Dakota.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on Friday, April 3, cited the potential mental health impact of residents among a variety of factors explaining why it resists a state foreclosure.
“We are a connected community. There is only that aspect too, “said Reynolds. “In addition to suicide and domestic abuse, there are also many disadvantages. “
Noem did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but defended his position with the Washington Post on Monday as business went up.
“The people themselves are primarily responsible for their safety,” she said. “They are the ones who are charged with extensive freedoms.”
Noem closed schools and recommended companies allow employees to work from home and touted the measures at a briefing on Tuesday.
“What we do every day by standing up and using our personal responsibility and taking action at local and state level – it works,” she said.