South Dakota reservations establish travel ban to limit COVID-19 exposure


Gracie Terrall, Copy Editor

A number of tribal reservations in South Dakota, including Rosebud, Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River, have implemented a travel ban in and out of the reservations in response to COVID-19.

In South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s April 24 press briefing, she discussed that she has been working with tribal leaders to ensure emergency personnel are still able to enter the reservations beyond the checkpoints.

Healthcare professionals, companies to restock grocery stores and the Department of Transportation all need access to the reservations to help during this crisis.

In regards to civilians attempting to enter the reservations, Noem warned individuals that most tribes have checkpoints along the borders and to respect their wishes.

“They are making it very clear that they don’t want visitors,” Noem said.

South Dakota Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon also confirmed that any COVID-19 test being processed at the state public health lab is free of charge.

“Insurance companies are not charging co-pays or deductibles for the cost of testing,” Malsam-Rysdon said.

Malsam-Rysdon also confirmed that COVID-19 is not transmittable by mosquitoes. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and can not be transmitted through blood.

Noem has also extended the stay-at-home executive order for immunocompromised individuals in Minnehaha and Lincoln counties. The governor is asking people over the age of 65 and individuals with health complications to remain home for another two weeks.

“I know that for them, this could get discouraging, but I want to encourage them that what they are doing is working and literally is protecting them and their health,” Noem said.