State health officials are reluctant to address questions about the projected death rates for COVID-19. They say infection rates, mitigation efforts, and other factors make it difficult to predict, but they outlined the formula they are using. 

Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says the department’s projections focus on predicting hospital capacity needs, but she notes previous estimates of death rates from COVID-19.

“That ranges from 0.5 to 3 percent of positive cases.”

Governor Kristi Noem is activating the National Guard to help hospitals respond to cases of COVID-19. The guard will build supplemental medical facilities in Sioux Falls and Rapid City before expanding to other parts of the state.

The governor says efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus have provided more time to prepare for a surge of potential cases. But ultimately the state will need more hospital beds. 

Josh Haiar/SDPB

For the second week in a row, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing a record number of South Dakotans onto unemployment rolls. 

There were 6,645 claims for unemployment assistance filed last week in South Dakota. That’s the most-ever in the available data from the U.S. Department of Labor, which goes back to 1987. 


In The Moment ... April 1, 2020 Show 786 Hour 1

Cara Hetland / SDPB

Governor Kristi Noem has already issued a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus. But many are waiting for her to declare a public health emergency. 

That distinction is frustrating local leaders—especially after lawmakers defeated a bill that would have granted more specific authorities during a public health emergency. 

A state of emergency gives the governor more flexibility to work with federal partners. It also triggers certain state resources. For instance, the governor declared a state of emergency last year to help responses during major flooding. 

South Dakota lawmakers have added another option for small-business owners who need help getting through the coronavirus pandemic. 

What About Our Animals?

Mar 31, 2020

In The Moment ... March 31, 2020 Show 785 Hour 1

In the midst of a pandemic, we humans are very concerned. Those same humans also have to be thoughtful of those around them whether they have 2 legs or perhaps 4. The question is how does the coronavirus affect our pets, our livestock or the farm animals? Joining us with insight is South Dakota's state veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven. 

Hay Camp Brewing Co.

Hope was running high for the Jaimes family five months ago when they opened their La Luna Café in Sioux Falls. 

The winter months were tough, but as the weather improved, so did business. 

Legal Services During A Pandemic

Mar 30, 2020

In The Moment ... March 30, 2020 Show 784 Hour 1

COVID-19 has us rethinking how we work, learn, and access medical services. We're also hearing questions from listeners about a variety of legal services. Neil Fulton is Dean of the School of Law at the University of South Dakota. 

Artists And COVID-19: Anna Robinson

Mar 30, 2020
Anna Robinson

Many small businesses are reeling from the economic effects of the pandemic. The impact can be especially hard for new ventures. 

Anna Robinson, creates digital work with her husband. 

“Primarily filmmaker, songwriter slash composer. But I also do graphic design and meet other media work to bring in income, you know.”


They started their home-business Open Space Creative last October to offer services to clients in the area. 


Josh Haiar/SDPB

The coronavirus pandemic has driven unemployment claims to all-time highs in the state and nation.  

Last week, 1,703 people filed claims for unemployment assistance in South Dakota. That’s almost nine times more than the previous week, when there were 190 claims. 

On The Other Hand: It's Hard To Stay Home

Mar 26, 2020

In The Moment ... March 26, 2020 Show 782 Hour 1

South Dakotans have been asked to stay at home in order to slow the spread of coronavirus, protect the vulnerable, keep healthcare workers safe and at work and well supplied. But nobody said that was going to be easy. For many people, staying home is fraught with perils of its own.  Kevin Woster writes about it online at

Childrearing In The Age Of Coronavirus

Mar 26, 2020

In The Moment ... March 26, 2020 Show 782 Hour 1

Anyone raising children during the age of coronavirus is now parenting in the open, even as we shelter in place. Parents join online work meetings with toddlers on their laps, kids roller skating through their living rooms, siblings fighting over ... what are they even fighting over this time?  Emily Oster is a professor of economics at Brown University and author of the books "Expecting Better" and "CRIBSHEET."

Roughly 100 high-risk cancer patients and 12 healthcare providers may have been exposed to COVID-19 in Rapid City.

A Monument Health caregiver tested positive for the disease after recently traveling outside of the state. 

The Meade County resident’s test result came back positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Monument Health President and CEO Paulette Davidson says the health system immediately enacted protocol to protect their employees and patients.  

Dr. Dan Heinemann

Mar 25, 2020

In The Moment ... March 25, 2020 Show 781 Hour 1

Dan Heinemann, MD, is a vice president and chief medical officer at Sanford Health. He joins us for an update on coronavirus preparations at Sanford facilities. 

Education and Healthcare reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health of Rapid City

Deadwood, SD

More than a thousand people who work in Deadwood’s gaming industry could soon be out of work. 

Governor Says Schools Should Stay Closed Until May

Mar 24, 2020

Governor Noem recommends that all k-12 school districts remain closed until early May. She says that course of action offers consistency in the approach to educating South Dakota students during the pandemic. 

The governor says she’s open to reevaluate school closings in May. But until then, schools are closed.

News Special: Rep Johnson & COVID-19 In Huron

Mar 24, 2020

Congressman Dusty Johnson joins us today for an update on Congressional efforts to blunt the impact of the coronavirus in the U.S., we hear from Huron, the largest city in Beadle County, which currently has more coronavirus cases than any other county in South Dakota, The Secretary of South Dakota's Department of Tourism joins us for a look at the impact of COVID-19 on the travel and arts industry, and much more in this "In the Moment" news special. 

Dusty Johnson

Mar 24, 2020

In The Moment ... March 24, 2020 Show 780 Hour 2

Congressman Dusty Johnson joins us today for an update on Congressional efforts to blunt the impact of the coronavirus in the U.S., which includes negotiating an economic stimulus package. 

An Expert's Take On The Numbers

Mar 24, 2020

In The Moment ... March 24, 2020 Show 780 Hour 1

Beadle County: The Epicenter Of COVID-19 In SD

Mar 24, 2020

In The Moment ... March 24, 2020 Show 780 Hour 1

We're checking in with communities across the state about how coronavirus is impacting them. We begin in Huron, the largest city in Beadle County. Beadle Country currently has more cases than any other county in South Dakota, despite having a much smaller population than some of the others.

City of Rapid City

People across the nation are debating the appropriate balance between economic and public health responses to the coronavirus pandemic, and a local version of the debate went public Sunday in Rapid City. 

Governor Kristi Noem said the state is adding more staff and phone lines to its unemployment call center because of increased claims resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. 

SDPB News: March 23

Mar 23, 2020

The SDPB "Statehouse" Podcast is SDPB's daily news podcast. We bring you South Dakota's top news and politics headlines over the past 24 hours.

Each day SDPB's journalism team works to bring you pertinent news coverage. We then compile those stories into one neatly formatted daily podcast so that you can stay informed. Enjoy.


Coronavirus Phishing Scams

Mar 23, 2020

In The Moment ... March 23, 2020 Show 779 Hour 2

The South Dakota Attorney General's office is warning people about phishing scams, and businesses are ripe to become victims as standard protocols continue to change.

To help us all spot some of these scams and to give us some red flags we should all be watching out for, we're joined by the Better Business Bureau's Jesse Schmidt.

Economic Impact Of COVID-19 Continues

Mar 23, 2020

In The Moment ... March 23, 2020 Show 779 Hour 1

As the economic impact of the coronavirus continues to wash through South Dakota, financial management has become fraught with emotion in new ways. For many people, what they thought about financial security needs to be reexamined. Rick Kahler is a frequent guest on In the Moment. He's a wealth advisor and pioneer in financial therapy. He's the founder of the Kahler Financial Group in Rapid City.

The South Dakota Department of Social Services wants more flexibility for medical providers responding to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The shift to on-line learning for the nation’s K-12 students presents new challenges for educators. But some tribal schools are struggling with the transition for different reasons. Their technology infrastructure and internet access aren’t strong enough to connect isolated students.


News: Mar 14 - 20

Mar 20, 2020

We continue with our coverage of COVID-19, talk spring flooding with some of South Dakota's experts, and more in this week's In the Moment news podcast.  

How Are Farmers Handling The Economic Downturn?

Mar 20, 2020

In The Moment ... March 20, 2020 Show 778 Hour 1

How are farmers handling the economic downturn and coronavirus crisis? Are there opportunities for farmers in the days ahead? What are the challenges of the upcoming spring planting season?

Charles Baron is co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Farmers Business Network.