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Sioux Falls extends mask mandate; 39 new deaths confirmed

December 16, 2020 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday extended the city’s mask mandate to the middle of March, following an hour of testimony from citizens who were mostly opposed to the move.

The ordinance is identical to the one passed on Nov. 17, with no penalty for violating it. It was due to expire on Jan. 1.

The council, as it has on previous mask mandate votes, passed the extension by a 6-2 vote. Councilor Marshall Selberg, who supported it, admitted that the extension was a “bit of a hard sell,” and he would likely change his mind if another extension proposal comes up without a significant rise in cases.

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State health officials on Wednesday reported 39 new deaths due to complications from COVID-19, increasing the total fatalities to 1,300. The state reported 904 new cases, lifting the total to 92,603. Officials said that 405 doses of the coronavirus vaccine had been administered as of Tuesday.

South Dakota led the nation a couple of weeks ago in cases per capita, but has since dropped to sixth, according to The COVID Tracking Project. One in every 189 people in the state tested positive in the past week, the Johns Hopkins University group reported.