SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – On Thursday, Governor Noem announced she is deploying the South Dakota National Guard to help with the state’s mitigation efforts going forward, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The South Dakota National Guard will aid the state’s health systems in adding additional hospital capacity in Sioux Falls and Rapid City first before continuing onto other communities.
The South Dakota National Guard will set up 100 ICU beds in both Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Governor Noem says more information on which South Dakota National Guard units will be deployed and how many members will be announced in the coming days.
Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says every hospital in the state is preparing for surge capacity. She says she is confident that hospitals will be prepared as the state works to push back the peak infection rate.
Other notes from Thursday’s briefing
Noem said efforts to “flatten the curve” are working, which is helping our health care system from getting overwhelmed. Because of this, the projected peak infection date has been moved back to July or August.
The governor also said a two-week total shutdown would not make the coronavirus “go away.” She said the science says the virus cannot be simply stopped; the goal is to slow it down.
The state may see a second outbreak in the fall, Noem said, and hospitals are preparing for that possibility.
Department of Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman also discussed the state’s unemployment numbers, which spiked by nearly 5,000 last week. She laid out guidelines for people who may be applying for assistance for the first time. You can find more information about the application process here.
South Dakota saw its biggest one-day increase in COVID-19 cases Thursday as health officials confirmed 36 new cases in the state. The new cases bring the state’s total to 165, according to the South Dakota Department of Health.
Seventeen of the cases have involved hospitalizations.