Impacts Of Smithfield Closure

Apr 13, 2020

In The Moment ... April 13, 2020 Show 794 Hour 2

Smithfield Foods is closing its Sioux Falls meatpacking plant indefinitely after hundreds of its employees contracted COVID-19. Over the weekend, Governor Kristi Noem and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken asked the company to close the plant for at least two weeks. 

Smithfield had already announced a three-day closure through Monday to sanitize the plant and add physical barriers. On Saturday, Governor Noem requested the company to follow the recommended 14-day isolation period for potential COVID-19 exposure.

Gov. Kristi Noem and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken want Smithfield Foods to close its Sioux Falls meatpacking plant for two weeks. The plant is in Minnehaha County, which reports 438 COVID-19 cases. Of those, 238  cases are identified as Smithfield employees.

Gov. Noem says the request also asks Smithfield to pay its employees while the plant is closed. 

Eddie Sullivan

Apr 10, 2020

In The Moment ... April 10, 2020 Show 793 Hour 2

The human body has its own, powerful immune response that fights off illness and disease. Scientists at SAB Biotherapeutics in South Dakota are working to harness nature and save lives in the fight against coronavirus. They've been doing this work for decades and were uniquely positioned to respond rapidly to the novel coronavirus outbreak.  Joining us for an update on the development of therapeutics, we welcome Eddie Sullivan, president & CEO of SAB Biotherapeutics.

The Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls will close for three days this weekend after becoming a cluster of coronavirus transmission. Health officials say about 80 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The union representing those workers says that number is closer to 120. 

State officials say they’re monitoring the situation, while the city develops a more targeted communication plan.

State officials won’t say how many new COVID-19 cases are connected to the Smithfield outbreak. And state epidemiologist Josh Clayton says they do not identify specific hotspots. 

The South Dakota Supreme Court continues to operate during the pandemic shutdown. One exception is that the court rescheduled March oral arguments, pushing them to the April term.

Later this month, justices will hear oral arguments telephonically, with live audio broadcast online as it always is.

The court has continued to release its opinions to the public every Thursday.

On Thursday, April 9, the Supreme Court released three opinions, and SDPB's Victoria Wicks has more on those.

News: Sen. Rounds & Apr 2 - 9

Apr 9, 2020

In this week's In the Moment news, we check in with Senator Mike Rounds, the mayors of Rapid City and Huron, talk the constitutional concerns around coronavirus, and much more.

Find us on: AppleSpotify, and Google Play

Test Kit Shortages To Drive-Through Testing

Apr 9, 2020

In The Moment ... April 9, 2020 Show 792 Hour 2

Coronavirus testing has been at the center of pandemic response in the United States since the first case of COVID-19 was detected. From test kit shortages to drive-through testing sites, we've seen what's available to South Dakotans evolve. Now there's a new story to tell. 

Josh Haiar/SDPB

New claims for unemployment benefits continue to rise in South Dakota as the coronavirus spreads. 

There were 7,916 unemployment filings in South Dakota last week. It was the third consecutive week of record claims from pandemic-related job losses.  

State residents have filed a total of more than 16,000 unemployment claims since the pandemic’s impact on the economy first showed up in the numbers during mid-March. 

Minnehaha County—which includes most of Sioux Falls—accounts for more than half of the state’s COVID-19 cases. State and city officials have identified a hot-spot of coronavirus transmission, but won’t publicly identify it. 

Mayor Paul TenHaken says the state identifies hot spots and then works with the city public health departments on mitigation efforts. 

“There is a spot in Minnehaha County that we’re working very closely with the state. I’m not gonna name a business or an organization," says TenHaken, "but we are working with one employer specifically."

Dakota Political Junkies

Apr 8, 2020

In The Moment ... April 8, 2020 Show 791 Hour 2

Mayor Paul Aylward & PIO Mark Johnson

Apr 8, 2020

In The Moment ... April 8, 2020 Show 791 Hour 1

Juniper restaurant

March was supposed to be a joyous new beginning for Matthew and Alexis Sullivan. 

They had decided to relocate their Rapid City restaurant, called Juniper, more than a year earlier. They found a new space that needed remodeling, and they got to work. 

Alexis said it was a long year. 

SDPB News: April 7

Apr 7, 2020

The SDPB News Podcast is where we bring you South Dakota's top news and politics headlines from 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. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

Nature Reclaiming Its Space

Apr 7, 2020

In The Moment ... April 7, 2020 Show 790 Hour 1

The coronavirus pandemic has nature reclaiming its space. People from all over the world have been asked to decrease their activity which means animals and their activity are more visible to us, often in surprising ways. Stephanie Arne is an explorer and wildlife presenter. She is the founder of the Creative Animal Foundation.


SD 1 Of 5 States Without A Stay-At-Home Order

Apr 7, 2020

In The Moment ... April 7, 2020 Show 790 Hour 1

South Dakota is one of five states in the country without a stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And despite requests, the South Dakota Department of Health has not declared a public health emergency. 

Governor Kristi Noem has been hesitant to employ a statewide declaration. Instead, she's opting for executive orders that leave some local government leaders unclear about their authority. SDPB's Lee Strubinger reports:

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

All K-12 schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year. Governor Kristi Noem says it doesn’t make sense to bring students back to their classrooms in light of current projections of COVID-19 infections.

The governor says the state Department of Education will continue working with school administrators on distance learning through the end of the year. 

Lee Strubinger / SDPB

Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender is encouraged that the state’s three major healthcare systems support state data on the spread of coronavirus. 

Representatives from Sanford, Avera, and Monument Health joined Governor Noem last week when she shared the state’s projections. The numbers include how many ICU beds and ventilators the state will need when it reaches peak infection rates.

On SDPB’s In the Moment program, Allender says having a unified model is important in a state known for individuality.

Governor Noem has issued an executive order that urges some citizens in Minnehaha and Lincoln counties to stay home for the next three weeks. The request includes adults over 65 and people with chronic conditions to limit their exposure to the coronavirus. 

Noem says data shows these people are at greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Deadwood Gaming Association

Deadwood casino operators hoping for emergency payroll loans from Congress have received some bad news: They’re not eligible, at least for now. 

COVID-19 Update With Dr. Thury

Apr 6, 2020

In The Moment ... April 6, 2020 Show 789 Hour 1

More is known now regarding the pandemic than just 3 weeks ago. What needs to happen in the days ahead to stay on top of this? At this point what do citizens need to know about coronavirus?  Dr. Chad Thury is  Regional Director of Clinical Quality and Family Medicine Physician with Avera. He joins us today with the latest.


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

Pharmacy Services at Lewis Drug

Apr 6, 2020

In The Moment ... April 6, 2020 Show 789 Hour 1

Pharmacies across South Dakota have been feeling the effects of coronavirus. The efforts to fill prescriptions in a timely manner have been tested. Several facets of the pharmacy departments across the state have been challenged. Jessica Strobl is director of pharmacy services at Lewis Drug, she joins us today to discuss how COVID 19 has affected what she and her staff do.


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

City of Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken is issuing what he calls a “Safer at Home” proclamation to curb the spread of the coronavirus. More than half of the state’s total COVID-19 cases are in and around the city.   

The proclamation includes guidelines for businesses and families. It encourages residents to stay at home and limit grocery store visits to one trip a week from one household member. In line with the most recent CDC guidelines, the proclamation also encourages anyone over two years old without breathing difficulties to wear cloth masks in public.

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.”

State of South Dakota

Governor Kristi Noem says the number of COVID-19 cases in South Dakota may peak in the middle of June.

That’s based on current projections and state actions so far.

Models show the state will need 5-thousand hospital beds when COVID-19 hits its peak. The projection also estimates the state will need 1,300 ventilators. Governor Noem says they are working now to get more ventilators.

South Dakota is one of five states without a stay at home order. The other are North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Arkansas.

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. 

News: Sen Thune & Mar 28 - Apr 2

Apr 2, 2020

We talk with Senate Majority Whip John Thune, hear a veteran politics reporter's take on Governor Noem's leadership and more in this week's In the Moment news podcast.

Find us on: AppleSpotify, and Google Play

COVID-19 Community Impact Project

Apr 2, 2020

In The Moment ... April 2, 2020 Show 787 Hour 2

How are South Dakotans responding to the threat of COVID-19? A new statewide survey seeks to quantify our concern, our behavior, and our willingness to keep up drastic measures to slow the spread of the pandemic. 

John Thune's Message To South Dakotans

Apr 2, 2020

In The Moment ... April 2, 2020 Show 787 Hour 1

U.S. Senator John Thune is the Senate Majority Whip, the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate. He recently returned to South Dakota feeling flu-like symptoms. Since then he has tested negative for COVID-19. 

He joins us now from his home in Sioux Falls. 

Watch the full interview here.

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.