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Noem leaves mask-wearing out of “common-sense” steps to help slow spread of COVID-19

Governor Noem addressed the media in her first COVID-19 briefing since July on Wednesday.
Governor Noem addressed the media in her first COVID-19 briefing since July on Wednesday.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 12:39 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Governor Noem addressed the media in her first COVID-19 briefing since July on Wednesday.

Governor Noem refuted claims that her refusal to issue a mask mandate or lockdown is the reason South Dakota has seen an increase in cases.

In her remarks, she reminded residents to practice common-sense steps to help slow the spread. Noem listed washing hands, practicing good hygiene, and staying home when sick but did not mention wearing a mask. When questioned, Noem said she has remained consistent in her stance that those who feel the need to wear a mask can but that she believes in people’s personal responsibility to make decisions for themselves and their family.

Governor Noem claimed many states with mask mandates aren’t fairing any better than South Dakota even as the Sioux Falls City Council passed a mask mandate Tuesday night.

MORE: Sioux Falls City Council passes mask mandate

The South Dakota Department of Health reported a spike in COVID-19 deaths Wednesday.

The state reported 1,387 new cases to bring the state total to 68,671, 19,240 of which are currently active.

MORE: South Dakota reports 30 new COVID-19 deaths as active cases reach 19,240

According to the South Dakota Department of Health, coronavirus patients occupy 21.5% of staffed hospital beds and 47.5% of ICU beds. 33.4% of hospital beds and 18.1% of ICU beds are still available in the state.

This is a developing story.

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