Avera VP of Clinical Quality on COVID-19 Response

Oct 1, 2020

Dr. David Basel is Vice President of Clinical Quality with Avera Medical Group. He talked with SDPB's Jackie Hendry about the system's COVID-19 response and addressed concerns about hospital capacity. 

This interview was recorded on Monday 9/28/20.

  Jackie Hendry:

Sanford Chief Medical Officer on COVID-19 Response

Oct 1, 2020

Dr. Mike Wilde is Chief Medical Officer with Sanford Health. He spoke with SDPB's Jackie Hendry about the system's ongoing COVID-19 response and addressed concerns about hospital capacity. 

This interview was recorded on Monday 9/28/20.

Jackie Hendry:

Avera and Sanford Respond to Capacity Concerns

Sep 28, 2020

Local health providers say individual hospital capacity is not the best metric for gauging responses to COVID-19. After reports of deferred patients spread on social media, leaders from both Avera and Sanford say their surge plans are adequate and they have enough staff. But there are ways the public can help. 

There’s a simple reason Sanford and Avera are not publicly releasing their daily hospital capacity: to reduce confusion.

Dr. David Basel is the Vice President of Clinical Quality for Avera Medical Group.

Covid 19 Update: Dr. Shankar Kurra

Sep 28, 2020

In The Moment … September 28, 2020 Show 911 Hour 1

 Active cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the state. Hospitalizations rose as well, and with that, social media rumors have also taken new flight. Since the first cases of the contagion were confirmed in South Dakota, SDPB has brought you weekly, and often daily, updates on what we know about the virus and how to keep yourself and your family safe.  Dr. Shankar Kurra, M.D. is Vice President of Medical Affairs at Monument Health. He joins us today to share the science behind the pandemic. 

SDPB News: Sep 25 COVID Numbers

Sep 25, 2020

Your South Dakota COVID-19 numbers update for September 25th, 2020.

South Dakota Department of Health

South Dakota is seeing its highest COVID-19 hospitalization numbers so far. While state health officials insist there’s plenty of capacity statewide, some patients are being diverted hours away from home—and even out of state.

John Bjorkman lives in De Smet. He tested positive for COVID-19 last week and ended up in the hospital on Sunday. There, he took a turn for the worse.

“[I was] really working hard for every breath I could get," he says. "So on Tuesday morning, the nurse practitioner called Sioux Falls and visited with them, and they had no beds available.”

Josh Haiar / SDPB

Government payments to unemployed South Dakotans during the pandemic have surpassed $300 million.

That’s happened in just the past six months. South Dakota Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman said it’s a historic figure.

“To put that in perspective, that $300 million is more than we’ve paid out in the last decade in benefits," Hultman told the state's Workforce Development Council on Wednesday.

SDPB News: Sep 24 COVID Numbers

Sep 24, 2020

Your South Dakota COVID-19 numbers update for September 24th, 2020.

BOR Enrollment Down, Retention Up for Fall 2020

Sep 23, 2020
South Dakota Board of Regents

Fall enrollment is down in the state’s public university system for a third year in a row, but Board of Regents leadership says it’s not all bad news.

The fall 2020 headcount for the state’s six public universities is down 2.8%. That’s a loss of 954 students system-wide from last year’s enrollment. It’s not the worst drop in recent memory, but the decrease continues a trend that started in 2018.

BOR executive director Brian Maher says there is some good news: 2019’s first-year students came back this fall at a higher rate than previous years.

City of Sioux Falls

The state’s largest judicial circuit is suspending jury trials again due to rising COVID-19 numbers. The presiding judge of the Second Judicial Circuit—which serves Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties—issued the notice Tuesday afternoon.

Judge Robin Houwman says in a statement that rising COVID hospitalizations in the area are driving the decision. She says when trials resumed in mid-June, hospitalizations had been trending downward and had stayed under 45.

SafeGraph, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Business improved for some hotels and restaurants this summer after pandemic-related disruptions during the spring, but representatives of the hospitality industry say they’re still suffering.

Bob Fuchs owns restaurants and a winery and brewery in the Black Hills, including the Firehouse Brewing Company. He testified virtually Monday to the Legislature’s Joint Commerce and Energy Committee.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Small school districts can face big challenges when COVID-19 cases spread. The Burke School District was forced to put in-person classes on hold this week when 20% of its staff tested positive for the coronavirus.

Superintendent Erik Person says even a handful of cases can make a huge impact on a school district like his.

“Among our staff right now we have eight active positive cases, and that’s on a staff of about 40 people, 22 teachers.”

SDPB News: Sep 17 COVID Numbers

Sep 17, 2020

Your South Dakota COVID-19 numbers update for September 17th, 2020. 

SDPB News: Sep 15 COVID Numbers

Sep 15, 2020

Your South Dakota COVID-19 numbers update for September 14th, 2020. Follow us on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.


The Legislature’s Ag and Natural Resources Committee wants some pandemic relief aid directed to local meat processors.

The committee heard from several processors and ag-industry representatives Monday. It was part of a series of legislative hearings about proposed uses of remaining relief funds.

Cindy Tolle of Sturgis Meats said small processors are struggling to keep up with new demand created by the pandemic.


Bullfighter Gus Kronberg said he lost jobs at 16 rodeos that have been canceled during the pandemic.

That’s cost him more than $10,000. And he said people throughout the rodeo community are reeling.

“It’s hard for me to understand and wrap my mind around the kind of loss our whole industry has suffered," Kronberg said.

Covid-19 Update With Dr. Susan Hoover

Sep 14, 2020

In The Moment … September 14, 2020 Show 901 Hour 1

Every week we've been bringing you updates on what we know about Sars-CoV-2.  Today we welcome Dr. Susan Hoover. She specializes in infectious disease and travel medicine at Sanford Health. She also serves as an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. 

Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health


The White House Coronavirus task force reports that South Dakota’s COVID-19 testing is at insufficient levels.
It recommends increased testing and that the state aggressively promote mask use and social distancing.

SDPB News: Sep 10 COVID Numbers

Sep 10, 2020

SDPB brings you a COVID numbers update for September 10th, 2020. Subscribe to the SDPB News podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

Victoria Wicks

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in shortages of a wide variety of necessities. Most notable has been testing equipment and protective gear for healthcare workers, as well as toilet paper and disinfectant spray.

And the closing of restaurants has created a resurgence of home cooking and food preparation that has resulted in a scarcity of staples such as yeast and flour.

State of South Dakota

South Dakota businesses affected by the pandemic could soon have another opportunity to get help. 

Gov. Kristi Noem wants to use federal money for up to $400 million in business grants.

The money would come from $1.25 billion in aid that South Dakota got from the federal government at the beginning of the pandemic. 

Noem has already designated large chunks of that money for schools and local governments. Spokesman Ian Fury said the governor is now asking legislators for feedback on her business grant proposal. 


In The Moment … September 9, 2020 Show 898 Hour 1

Kim Malsom Rysdon, South Dakota's Secretary of Health, joins us to talk about contact tracing, COVID-19 here at home, and how the upcoming flu season intersects with the pandemic.

Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health


Charles Michael Ray

Governor Kristi Noem is blasting a study that finds the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is linked to over 250-thousand coronavirus cases across the country and responsible for 12 billion dollars in public health costs.

One state lawmakers says the study asks a unique question about the impact of the rally.

The study uses anonymized smartphone data from a company called SafeGraph, which found rally goers travelled from all corners of the country to the Black Hills for the 10-day event.

The Brookings City Council has passed a mask requirement for indoor public spaces where six feet of social distancing is not possible. That decision comes after nearly three hours of public comment. 

Many opposed to the ordinance cited outdated or limited studies that say masks aren’t effective for mitigating spread of the coronavirus. Many others cited concerns about eroding civil liberties. Attorney Jared Gas called the mandate a line in the sand.  

Courtesy photo

Case study research can tell us a lot about how to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. But without a medical or science background, understanding the research and applying it can be challenging. Some architects are trying to help.

Tom Hurlbert is a South Dakota architect. But when he’s trying to explain the benefits of socializing or doing business outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the founding partner of Co-Op Architecture puts on his dad hat.

SDPB News: Sep 3

Sep 3, 2020

Governor Kristi Noem is merging the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. What do people in both groups have to say about the consolidation? This and more in today’s SDPB News Podcast. Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today. 


In The Moment … September 2, 2020 Show 894 Hour 1

COVID-19 is filling the news. There's COVID-19 in our schools and on our campuses. COVID-19 cases are popping up at a rate more rapid than our recoveries. And, COVID-19 continues to play out in the political arena. It's a good time to gather our Dakota Political Junkies. 


SDPB News: Sep 2 COVID Numbers

Sep 2, 2020

SDPB brings you this COVID-19 numbers update for September 2nd, 2020. Subscribe to the SDPB News podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

Covid-19 Update With Dr. Jason Knutson

Aug 31, 2020

In The Moment … August 31, 2020 Show 892 Hour 1

South Dakota saw record COVID-19 case increases multiple times last week. We now welcome Dr. Jason Knutson, a family medicine physician with Avera Medical Group. He'll walk us through the COVID news from last week and give some guidance for parents navigating this unique back-to-school time.  

Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health

SD Banking Commission

Governor Kristi Noem says South Dakota has recovered most of the jobs it’s lost during the pandemic, but an analyst for the FDIC has different numbers.

Two weeks ago, Noem tweeted that South Dakota has regained 80 percent of its job losses.