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South Dakota announces 5 cases of coronavirus, 1 death

March 10, 2020 GMT

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man with underlying health problems who tested positive for COVID_19 has died, and four others from across the state have tested positive for the virus, officials announced on Tuesday.

Gov. Kristi Noem said the man died Tuesday, but officials have not confirmed if his death was caused by the virus. He was in his 60s and from Pennington County in the western part of the state.

The four other cases confirmed on Tuesday were in separate locations stretching across the state — Beadle, Charles Mix, Davison, and Minnehaha Counties. Health officials said they have not found a link between the cases. The patients were both male and female and in their 30s, 40s and 50s. They are being treated in their homes. Officials are sending the positive samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further confirmation.

Gov. Kristi Noem said the people had recently traveled, though not necessarily overseas, and that health officials are working to identify those who came into “close contact” with people who tested positive for the virus.

“Our team has been preparing for weeks, and I am confident we have the right people in place to address this fluid situation,” Noem said in a statement. “Without panicking, I encourage all South Dakotans to take this seriously — now is the time to prepare and to stay informed.”

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Noem encouraged people to wash their hands and to remotely contact their physician if they experience symptoms of the virus.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.