South Dakota coronavirus cases reach 58


Gracie Terrall, Copy Editor

Gov. Kristi Noem started her press conference today by reporting the number of cases and tests currently circulating through the state. 

As of Friday, March 27, there are 58 positive, 2,387 reported negative, 20 pending and 21 fully recovered cases of COVID-19 in the state of South Dakota. 

Yesterday, Noem had a call with the healthcare providers in the state to discuss the preparedness of these medical centers. Healthcare providers are working to have resources available once South Dakota reaches “surge capacity.” Which, according to Noem, will likely occur in late May or early June. 

Kim Malsam-Rysdon, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Health, noted that there are 2,300 hospital beds currently. Whether or not more beds are needed will depend on how well the virus can be slowed down. 

Malsam-Rysdon also confirmed that South Dakota received its second allocation from the national stockpile to help with the shortage of gowns and face shields

“We are able to keep up with the requests we have received in a very timely way,” Malsam-Rysdon said. “We will continue to work with our private suppliers and have requests pending with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) headquarters, specifically for gowns and face shields.”

Noem held a phone call with state legislators yesterday to discuss Veto Day plans and the new bills they will be discussing. All bills regarding coronavirus and the national pandemic will have an emergency clause on them. They are to be enacted immediately after Noem signs them instead of July 1. These bills are also temporary and will cease to exist once there is no longer a need for them. 

Noem also addressed the concerns with bills she will sign in regards to the budget, announcing that there will be a special meeting with legislators in June to go over the budget again. 

“I will sign bills we did for the budget … but I am not going to spend those dollars,” Noem said. “I will keep them and hold them knowing that in June, we will have a better picture of where we are as a state in terms of resources.”

The National Guard has been enlisted to help with the planning of COVID-19 relief. They have also been brought in to help with standing up hospitals and other facilities for when those are needed. Noem wanted to stress that members are also needed in their local community and will not be pulling them to help on the state level until it is absolutely necessary. 

“Every asset that the National Guard has available has been a part of the analysis of what we can do and how quickly we can do it,” Noem said. “They will be there when we need them.”

Malsam-Rysdon also addressed concerns regarding tribal health, saying anyone who is a resident in South Dakota, including those on reservations, will report any testing to the public health center. The Department of Health is in contact with tribal leaders weekly to discuss the situation. 

“We are not looking at the best-case scenario,” Noem ended. “We are looking at what is coming our way.”