Park Jefferson Speedways to hold races amid COVID-19 pandemic, Noem voices opposition


Gracie Terrall, Copy Editor

Park Jefferson Speedways in North Sioux City, announced they are still planning to hold races Saturday, April 25, despite the pandemic making its way through South Dakota.

In her April 21 press briefing, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said that she is strongly encouraging people not to attend the races. However, she is making no efforts to cancel the projected 700 person event. 

“I would encourage all South Dakotans to continue to follow the plans that we’ve laid out, that I’ve given to South Dakota in the executive order that I recommend we do to continue to flatten the curve,” Noem said. 

Noem also stresses, for those growing tired of social distancing, that nothing has changed. South Dakota’s peak infection rate is still set for mid-June, and Noem expects people to continue social distancing protocols until then. 

She warns people that if mitigation efforts start to lighten, South Dakota could see a large spike in positive cases that could possibly overwhelm hospitals. 

“If people no longer do that, we have an opportunity for viruses and infections to spike,” Noem said.

South Dakota Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon addressed the concerns regarding a halfway house in Sioux Falls. So far there are 14 residents and two employees who tested positive for COVID-19. Allegations were made that some of the patients were not contacted by health officials to begin the necessary protocol for positive individuals. 

Malsam-Rysdon confirmed that those who test positive are contacted within 36 hours after receiving positive lab results and that the Department of Health will look into those allegations.