Noem: State may later extend COVID-19 order, Sioux Falls focus for now
Gov. Kristi Noem said the state will evaluate whether to extend her recent COVID-19 order for Sioux Falls to the rest of South Dakota, but the state's largest city remains the focus for now.
In a briefing Tuesday, Noem said officials are focusing their efforts on protecting the most vulnerable in the Sioux Falls area, which is where over half the state's cases have been confirmed.
"We will continue to evaluate every single county and part of this state in the coming days," Noem said.
On Monday, Noem issued an
at-risk people in Minnehaha and Lincoln counties, urging them to stay home during the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes people over age 65, as well as those with chronic health conditions.
Monday's order also extended a previous
asking residents, businesses, and local governments to follow social distancing guidelines through May 31.
Noem received additional questions Tuesday about whether the the order is enforceable. She said her office proposed a bill to the legislature asking for "enforcement mechanisms" for the Department of Health, but the legislature did not support that bill. Noem did say she will take "appropriate action" if people violate the orders. Noem said this has not been an issue thus far.
Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon clarified what constitutes a "recovered" patient, saying they are free from fever for at least three days, other symptoms have resolved, and have been isolated for at least seven days.
The National Guard is assisting state health care providers in creating additional hospital capacity in both Sioux Falls and Rapid City, but on Tuesday Noem declined to give specifics on where those facilities are being constructed.
The state is working to create an additional 5,000 hospital beds, but the governor hinted Tuesday that the state may not require that many due to the increased mitigation efforts laid out in her recent executive order.
Noem also declared April 8 as a "day of prayer," asking people to pray for those diagnosed with COVID-19, as well as health care providers and others on the front line in the fight against the coronavirus.
Gov. Kristi Noem is set to deliver another update about efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in South Dakota.
Noem is set to speak at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. You can watch it live on the Dakota News Now