South Dakota’s public health lab has confirmed five cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. Governor Noem is partially activating the state’s emergency operations center. She says the state and its healthcare professionals are prepared to respond.
The confirmed cases are in Beadle, Charles-Mix, Davison and Minnehaha counties. The fifth case in Pennington county is related to a man in his 60’s with underlying health issues who died on Tuesday.
Governor Noem says COVID-19 is not confirmed to be the cause of death.
“One person has passed away that had underlying medical conditions as well that complicated the situation. We believe the other four are not in the hospital, they are home. And they are working with Health Department officials and their providers to get the appropriate actions taken.”
The state Department of Health is working with the four others who tested positive to determine who else they may have come in contact with in recent days.
Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says there is something all five cases have in common:
“We do have preliminary information that all cases had some element of travel within the last week, so we will be learning more about where those folks were traveling.”
The Department of Health is launching a website with daily updates on South Dakota COVID-19 cases and other information.
Governor Noem is also partially activating the state emergency operations center.
“Which allows us to collocate individuals that are experts at dealing with this type of a situation, to streamline and build efficiencies into our responses," she explains. "We feel we are prepared and ready to tackle what is coming today, and we will reevaluate obviously as the situation changes.”
The governor reminds anyone with symptoms like cough, shortness of breath and fever to stay home and call their healthcare provider to determine if they should seek testing.
At this time, the state Department of Health has enough COVID-19 test kits to cover 800 people and is in the process of requesting more from the federal government.
To hear the full press conference with Governor Noem and Secretary Malsom-Rysdon click play below.