Secretary of Health to depart Noem’s administration

December 10, 2021 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s Secretary of Health, who helped steer the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, announced her resignation Friday.

Kim Malsam-Rysdon played a right-hand role as Noem went without most restrictions during the pandemic. Malsam-Rysdon oversaw the state’s testing and vaccination efforts, as well as its public health communications.

“Kim has been a steady hand as our Secretary of Health,” Noem said in a statement. “I have appreciated her help and partnership during unprecedented times. We will miss having her on the team, and we wish her all the best.”

Malsam-Rysdon is the latest person to exit from the governor’s core team in recent weeks. She has also lost her chief of finance and replaced her chief of staff.

Malsam-Rysdon started as a cabinet secretary in 2015 under Noem’s predecessor Dennis Daugaard.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to lead the Department of Health the last seven years, and for Governor Noem’s leadership, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Malsam-Rysdon said in a statement.

The governor named Joan Adam as her Interim Secretary of Health. She previously worked as a division director in the Department of Health, overseeing the state’s public health lab, correctional health care services, vital records and health information technology.