Gov. Noem denies TenHaken’s requests for a shelter in place


Gracie Terrall, Copy Editor

Paul TenHaken, the Sioux Falls mayor, requested two things of Gov. Noem Tuesday, April 14: to order shelter in place for Minnehaha and Lincoln counties and to set up an isolation camp secured by the National Guard for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Noem denied both of these requests.

The governor believes individuals testing positive for COVID-19 should isolate within their homes, and if they cannot do so, they are to be put up in a hotel at the government’s cost. 

Noem also announced that 70% of cases in Minnehaha county come from Smithfield Food Inc. Currently, there are 438 employees that have tested positive and 107 positive cases from contacts of employees. 

Noem responded to criticism about a shelter in place possibly preventing the outbreak at the food plant. 

She said that because Smithfield is an essential business, the plant would have been running regardless of a shelter in place order. 

“This is a critical infrastructure job plant,” Noem said. “This plant is incredibly important, not just to Sioux Falls, not to just South Dakota, but to our nation. It provides our food for us.”

Since March, the Department of Health has tripled its staff to help investigate contact tracing of positive cases. According to Noem, the DOH will be doubling that number again by Friday, April 17. 

Noem also addressed the state of the economy and the lower numbers South Dakota is seeing. Both sales tax and lottery numbers are being largely impacted by the halt of the economy. 

“We will get numbers that will be shocking to all of you,” Noem said. 

The March sales tax numbers will be reported by the first week in May. Noem has created charts on detailing the economic impact the virus has had on the state thus far.