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3 more positive COVID-19 tests in South Dakota

March 11, 2020 GMT

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Three more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in South Dakota, bringing the number to eight.

Wednesday’s update came after Gov. Kristi Noem announced on Tuesday the state’s first five cases, including one person who died. That was a man in his 60s with underlying health problems.

The people who tested positive on Wednesday were all men and in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Two were from Minnehaha County; the the other was in Bon Homme County. The state’s health lab is processing 11 more tests.

Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said that two of the cases were linked to travel and officials were still looking into the third case.

Noem encouraged those at risk to the virus to stay at home. But shortly before Noem spoke with reporters, the state’s high school athletic association announced that the state basketball tournament would still proceed as planned. The organization consulted with the governor before deciding to keep the tournament on schedule.

Noem said she is not requesting additional funding from the Legislature as it enters its final day to set the budget on Thursday. She said the state is expecting funding from the federal government to help the state’s response.

The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade planned Saturday for downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has been canceled due to concerns over the new coronavirus. Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jeff Griffin said Wednesday the decision to cancel the parade was made after consulting city and state officials and reviewing U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for mass gatherings.

“Our greatest priority is the health and welfare of all our citizens,” Griffin said. The parade typically draws thousands of people from around the region.

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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