Governor Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) shared the latest COVID-19 test results with two new positive cases in South Dakota and two more people recovered. Noem also shared insight about the developing situation at the prison in Pierre.
The state says the inmate who tested positive in Pierre is in isolation at the women’s prison. Noem said officials are following all recommendations as any other person who has COVID-19. However, she said she can’t speak to the actual housing cell of the inmate. State officials are currently looking at the movements of eight escaped inmates to see if they had close proximity to the woman who tested positive. Plus, there is concern that surfaces could be contaminated in the jail.
The governor has extended the timeline for students to be out of school. Last week, Noem requested schools remain closed until March 27. On Tuesday, Noem said she isn’t mandating schools close until May 2, but said it is a guideline she wants them to follow. She stated this will also provide consistency for the kids. Noem also said each district has been communicating with her on how they will continue this approach.
She believes South Dakota will still be dealing with the virus in May, but she said it’s unclear what therapeutics could be available then. Noem said the state will have another eight weeks until peak infection rates hit.
The State Department of Health is going through a needs assessment to see if South Dakota will need a quarantine center. Officials are currently assessing surge capacity and what facility can be of assistance if cases increase. Officials will have more updates on this plan in the coming weeks.
Noem also touched on her executive order asking that each Mayor regulate that businesses in their community are following her guidelines.