South Dakota Governor Noem Opposes Home Stay Order Now Facing Coronavirus Hot Spot


Despite an epidemic in the largest city in South Dakota and criticism that there is no shelter order in place throughout the state, Governor Kristi Noem said Wednesday that the state was doing better than expected and “bent the curve”.

“We have reduced our peak, and that’s a good thing, and it’s encouraging for all of us,” Noem said at a press conference. “Our health system can manage what awaits us. “

Noem, a Republican, commented as the number of people who tested positive for coronavirus in the state increased to 1,168, largely due to a cluster of cases from a meat processing plant in Sioux Falls. There have been six deaths in the state.

Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration of President Donald Trump, has expressed concern about the state figures.

“South Dakota has become one of the fastest growing hotspots in the United States, even as other parts of the country see their epidemics begin to stabilize or slow down. South Dakota now has a doubling time of about 4 days. As part of the epidemic, each state is vulnerable, ” he tweeted.

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More than 500 workers at the Smithfield pork processing plant tested positive for the virus, and the plant, which employs 3,700 people, was closed until further notice over the weekend. More than 100 non-workers in the region fell ill after being in contact with factory workers, the Argus Leader newspaper reported, citing data from the state health department.

Employees and family members demonstrate outside a Smithfield Foods processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., Thursday, April 9, 2020.Stephen Groves / AP

The cluster is now the largest in the country, further highlighting Noem, who advocated that residents practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings, but did not issue a shelter order on the scale at scale of State.

Sioux Falls mayor Paul TenHaken, a Republican, has asked the governor to issue at least one shelter order across the county for the Sioux Falls area and surrounding areas, but Noem refused.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate given the data, the facts and the science we have,” Noem said Tuesday.

TenHaken is now pushing Sioux Falls City Council to approve an order requiring people to take shelter locally within the city limits, which is a longer process.

Noem said the public had done a good job following the directions without a formal prescription – and that an ordinance would not have affected Smithfield because it is a vital business.

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Noem said on Wednesday that she was working with federal officials “on a plan to reopen the plant safely.”

She also insisted that voluntary state mitigation efforts are working. While modeling initially showed that up to 5,000 hospital beds would be needed in the state of about 900,000 residents, it now shows that about 2,500 beds would be required.

“We have to stay the course,” said Noem.


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