The Latest: Sioux Falls school staff member tests positive

March 24, 2020 GMT

The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak in South Dakota (all times local):

3 p.m.

The Sioux Falls School District reports a staff member at Laura Wilder Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19.

The district says parents and staff members at Laura Wilder were notified of the confirmed case Tuesday afternoon. District officials say they have provided guidance from the South Dakota Department of Health to families and staff.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has ordered schools to remain closed until at least May as the state tries to stem the spread of the coronavirus.


1:15 p.m.

South Dakota public universities have canceled all in-person classes for the rest of the semester and postponed graduation ceremonies as the state expects COVID-19 infections to rise through the spring.

The Board of Regents says classes are currently being held online at the state’s six universities. The universities won’t be changing tuition charges unless a course can’t be delivered online. They will offer partial financial credits for room, meal and parking fees.

Teachers at the School for the Blind & Visually Impaired will work with students remotely until May. But audiology clinics through the School for the Deaf are closed. In-person instruction at both special education schools is canceled.


11:55 a.m.

Authorities say nine inmates left a South Dakota women’s prison after another inmate tested positive for the coronavirus.

The state Department of Corrections says the women left the Community Work Center in Pierre on Monday night through an exterior door.

The Rapid City Journal reports the women fled several hours after the state secretary of health, Kim Malsam-Rysdon, confirmed that a female inmate tested positive for COVID-19. One of the escapees was later caught.

Malsam-Rysdon says an investigation is underway into how the case spread to the prison.


11:15 a.m.

South Dakota Rep. Bob Glanzer was airlifted to Sioux Falls for COVID-19 treatment on Tuesday morning, KCCR Radio reports.

Glanzer was not responding to treatment at Huron Regional Medical Center, and doctors decided to send him to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, according to his son Tom Glanzer.

The Republican lawmaker received a positive confirmation for the coronavirus on Sunday after feeling sick for several days.


7:30 a.m.

Two regional health care providers based in Sioux Falls say they will begin processing tests for the coronavirus after getting regulatory approval.

Sanford Health said initially it will process about 400 tests daily with plans to double that number in the coming weeks. Avera Health said it has the capacity to handle about 200 tests daily.

Testing was previously done at the state lab in Pierre or by commercial labs.

Avera said most test results can be returned in a few days. Hospitalized patients that are considered urgent can be returned more quickly, the Argus Leader reported.

Sanford says it will test people who meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for symptoms, including lower respiratory infections, contact with an infected person or travel to a nation with widespread infections.

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

“Testing of COVID-19 samples is a complex process. Thanks to Avera’s background with genetic testing, we have the expertise and equipment to accomplish this,” said Dr. Bruce Prouse, the clinical vice president of the Avera Laboratory Service Line.