PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota has five COVID-19 cases including one death possibly linked to the strain of Coronavirus causing a global outbreak, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) confirmed.
State health officials said the person who died was a man between the age of 60 and 69 from Pennington County. They are waiting for medical examiner confirmation but said he tested positive for COVID-19. Noem said he had underlying medical conditions. The man died earlier Tuesday.
The governor’s office said four other people with cases, all travel-related, are not hospitalized at this time:
- Male 40-49 – Beadle County
- Male 50-59 – Charles Mix County
- Female 30-39 – Davison County
- Male 40-49 – Minnehaha County
The state doesn’t believe the cases are inter-related. They all involved travel outside of South Dakota, but not necessarily internationally.
“The state’s Public Health Laboratory in Pierre has confirmed the first presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in South Dakota,” Noem said in a statement. “The cases are travel related. While we wait for the CDC to conduct their confirmatory testing, the Department of Health staff is working to identify additional people who came in close contact with these individuals to decrease the spread of illness.”
Test results are considered “presumptive positive” until the result is confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said presumptive positive cases are to be treated as if they are confirmed cases.
Noem partially activated the state’s emergency operations center. Officials also opened a hotline at 800-997-2800.
There are about tests for 800 people available, and the state has requested more.
“Our team has been preparing for weeks, and I am confident we have the right people in place to address this fluid situation. Without panicking, I encourage all South Dakotans to take this seriously – now is the time to prepare and to stay informed,” Noem said.
South Dakota’s Congressional delegation issued statements late Tuesday.
“Gov. Kristi Noem notified me earlier this afternoon that multiple presumptive cases of coronavirus have been identified in South Dakota. As the governor said, the state has been preparing for this possibility for weeks, and I am confident all of the necessary steps are being taken as we learn more about these individuals, where they may have traveled, and anyone else they may have contacted. At the federal level, I’m laser-focused on ensuring state and local governments around the country have the resources they need to fight the coronavirus outbreak, and last week, I was proud to support bipartisan legislation that significantly invests in this fight. My staff and I are working closely with the governor and her team, and I would encourage South Dakotans looking for more information about COVID-19 to visit coronavirus.gov or covid.sd.gov and be aware of any state or local updates in the coming days and weeks.”
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
“The state of South Dakota has been preparing to deal with a COVID-19, as has the federal government. Last week, we passed legislation to provide state and local entities with additional resources to save lives and prevent the spread of disease. Additionally, health officials are actively working on a vaccine and advanced therapeutic treatments.
South Dakotans should continue to take care of their health during this time. This includes washing your hands frequently, avoid touching your face and stay home if you feel sick. Additionally, avoid close contact with large groups of people if possible. I’ll continue working with federal administration officials, state officials, tribal leaders and healthcare providers to make sure we’re doing all we can to take care of our citizens. While we recognize that there will be economic impacts throughout the United States, the most important things we should focus on right now are saving lives and appropriate healthcare needs.”
Sen. Mike Round (R-SD)
The virus was first reported in Wuhan, China on Dec. 31, 2019.
This is a developing story.
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