Noem urges South Dakotans to 'hang in there' during pandemic


SIOUX FALLS (AP) – Gov. Kristi Noem acknowledged the danger of the coronavirus Wednesday, urging South Dakotans to keep themselves to themselves, but she did not impose a stay-at-home order as in other states.

Speaking during a teleconference with reporters, the Republican governor said “we all have a common enemy” in the virus, but that residents should “hang in there. We will get through this, and we will persevere.”

The South Dakota Department of Health reported at least 41 cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, up from 30 a day earlier. Minnehaha and Beadle counties have the most cases, with 13 each. Brookings County remains at one case. South Dakota has recorded one death from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Noem asked local officials who are stretched thin by the pandemic to be steadfast and calm. And she asked South Dakotans to not allow news reports to panic them, but suggested they could stay at home.

“Please press pause. Put down your smartphones, turn off your TVs, maybe go for a walk," Noem said. "Visit with your families, spend some time with them. Call a loved one. Just take a break.”

She did not take any questions. Several states have told residents they must stay at home unless they work in an essential industry, or to tend to critical tasks such as fetching food or medical supplies. Noem did not go that far.

"I want you to understand that we are doing our absolute best, and our best is very good," she said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

Rep. Bob Glanzer, a Huron Republican, was hospitalized on Sunday after being infected with COVID-19. He was airlifted to a hospital in Sioux Falls on Monday and has shown signs of recovering, according to his son, Thomas Glanzer.

The South Dakota Legislature will meet via teleconference for the final scheduled day of this year's legislative session because of the virus.

Lawmakers were scheduled to convene Monday in Pierre to consider action on any vetoes from Noem, but decided to hold the meeting remotely. They could also consider emergency actions such as budget adjustments or legislative action in light of the pandemic. The public will be able to listen to the meeting.

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