SD Governor: 1 new case of COVID-19, testing slows down

March 16, 2020 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota authorities reported one new positive test for COVID-19 on Monday, while reporting that the coronavirus was confirmed as the cause of death for one person last week.

Gov. Kristi Noem said the death last week of a man in his 60s with underlying health problems was caused by COVID-19. She said that though it was reported he resided in Pennington County, he spent the two weeks leading up to his death in Davison County, where he died .

The state has reported one death and 10 positive cases. Officials said all the positive cases came from people with recent travel history and that currently there is no community transmission. They have tested over 500 people for the coronavirus.


Noem said there is a slow down in test results from the the state lab. It still has plenty of tests, but is running low on other supplies needed to run the tests. This has forced the lab to prioritize tests from medium and high-risk people. Noem said it would take one or two days to process tests after samples arrive at the lab in Pierre.

The new positive test came from a man in his 20s in Minnehaha County. The county contains Sioux Falls, the state’s largest city. Sioux Falls health officials announced on Monday they would be moving to halt gatherings of 50 or more people in city-owned facilities and hoped private groups would follow their cue. The Sioux Falls School District has canceled classes for the week.

For most people, the 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 governor signed a state of emergency order last week, requesting public schools to close and ordering non-essential state employees to work from home. She also plans to assist small businesses and nonprofits in applying for federal loans if they are impacted by the outbreak.

“There isn’t a single agency or department at the state level that isn’t engaged,” Noem said.

The governor indicated the state may decide to request schools to close for longer than her original request of one week. Schools are working to provide lunch and other meals to students while school is closed.

Noem said she was told by White House officials that the nation’s grocery supply chain remains in good shape on a conference call with President Donald Trump on Monday.


Noem also confirmed that the president advised governors to find private sources for respirators, rather than rely on the federal government, as hospitals prepare for the possibility of treating people for the coronavirus.

“It’s all hands on deck to meet supply needs,” Noem said.

South Dakota public universities announced on Monday that all classes will move online next week after an extended spring break. Classes are currently scheduled to meet in-person again on April 6, but the Board of Regents noted the situation is “evolving.”


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