Gov. Noem, Mayor TenHaken speak on newest COVID-19 cases & possible shutdowns

The Florida Department announces there are 563 cases of COVID-19 in Florida. (CDC)
The Florida Department announces there are 563 cases of COVID-19 in Florida. (CDC)(WJHG)
Published: Mar. 22, 2020 at 8:30 PM CDT
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Governor Kristi Noem confirmed there are 7 new cases of COVID-19 in South Dakota.

Six of those cases are in Beadle County and the other is in Brown County. Governor Noem said Beadle County is on "the verge" of community spread of COVID-19.

“I am going to have a harsher message for the county of Beadle and for Huron specifically, I’m going to ask you and your local leadership to even be much more stringent in how you go out and interact with the public," Noem said Sunday.

Noem said health officials believe some of the new cases in Beadle County were likely connected to existing cases within the county.

Overall, Noem said she's proud of the way the state has made efforts to help slow the spread of the virus.

"I would say 80% of businesses in the state of South Dakota that interact with the public, have changed their practices."

But, there are still problem areas.

Mayor Paul TenHaken of Sioux Falls Tweeted a photo of packed parking lots in the Downtown area, insisting more businesses need to be taking part in precautions.

"We have some isolated incidences and obviously some issues in Sioux Falls with some of the bars," Noem said, stating any power to mandate businesses to shutdown does not lay in her hands. "I don't have the authority to enforce that. That enforcement and those tools are at the local level," said Noem.

"In the City of Sioux Falls, the only trigger we have to do that would be through our board of health," Tenhaken said. "The Mayor doesn't have that authority, but our board of health has a lot of flexibility."

A meeting has been set for Tuesday for the City’s Board of Health to consider measures to close certain nonessential establishments.

The decision is said to be dictated by data gathered by state and local health partners, making for a pivotal week ahead.

TenHaken added, "Every week has felt like it's been the big week. I think this is a really big week in front of us and really the first half of the week; the next two or three days."

Sunday's new cases bring the total for South Dakota up to 21.

Governor Noem said of the 14 cases prior to Sunday, 6 have fully recovered.

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