A report that the CDC is producing regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 at Smithfield Foods — a meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls where 989 people connected to the plant have been infected with the coronavirus — still hasn’t been seen by the public.
Gov. Kristi Noem said she talked with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Wednesday morning to discuss the outbreak at Smithfield Foods, and that the USDA is working with the CDC to finalize the report, which Noem said will be released on Thursday.
Noem also said she’s working on securing personal protective equipment and testing supplies for Smithfield through FEMA.
Noem said she also spoke with county commissioners in the state on Wednesday morning in which commissioners asked questions about social distancing, guidance on game, fish and parks, as well as any guidance Noem had on how to address out-of-state travelers.
Noem said the toolkit for local leaders on covid.sd.gov would be able to address any questions mayors or county commissioners had.
Kim Malsam-Rysdon, state health secretary, said the Department of Health still doesn’t recommend testing for asymptomatic people.
“We are working to get supplies so that we can assure all symptomatic people have access to testing,” she said. “Health care workers are treated specially, so they are a high-risk group. The state public health lab can facilitate testing and process testing for that group.”
Malsam-Rysdon also could not confirm any cases at a retirement home in Pierre, or any new cases at the DemKota Beef Plant in Aberdeen.
Regarding the races set to take place over the weekend at the Jefferson Speedway, Noem said there’s no way for her to legally track those who attend the race to see if they spread COVID-19.
“I think this is an opportunity to make a wise decision to stay home,” Noem said. “80 percent of the people who are positive for COVID-19 will have minimal, if no symptoms whatsoever. The only way you would know if somebody was positive was if they were tested. We’re not currently actively testing people in the state who don’t have symptoms.”
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