SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It was a busy day in COVID-19 related news in South Dakota on this Thursday. Here’s what you need to know:
The number of positive COVID-19 cases in South Dakota passed the 400 mark on Thursday with 54 new cases. There are no new deaths reported in the state from COVID-19, so that total remains at six.
South Dakota meatpacking plant to close for 3 days, as one of the nation’s top hotspots for COVID-19
A Sioux Falls, South Dakota meatpacking plant quickly becoming one of the top hotspots for COVID-19 in the country is closing for three days, according to a statement from Smithfield Foods.
On Wednesday, the South Dakota Department of Health confirmed more than 80 employees at Smithfield Foods have tested positive for COVID-19.
In a KELOLAND.com Original Report, we have learned this now makes the plant just across the street from the city’s namesake and largest tourist attraction – Falls Park – one of the top hotspots in the country for COVID-19, according to data analyzed by the New York Times and KELOLAND News.
Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said the case growth at Smithfield Foods has been very large, and the city has only learned about the “heat of this hot spot in last 48 hours.”
He said that’s a good reminder of how quickly the virus can spread.
TenHaken was on a call with leaders of Smithfield Thursday morning, which he described as “heated.”
State launches contact tracing app for essential workers
South Dakota and North Dakota have partnered to create an app to help with contact tracing. Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) said this is a tool for essential workers to log their location, which will help with contact tracing.
The app can be downloaded to help people retrace their tracks. Noem still encourages social distancing.