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SD now has 41 coronavirus cases; state workers doing their 'absolute best,' Noem says
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SD now has 41 coronavirus cases; state workers doing their 'absolute best,' Noem says

South Dakota jumped from 30 to 41 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The new cases include individuals in Brown, Lincoln and Meade counties and eight new cases in Minnehaha County. The case in Meade County is a caregiver at Monument Health.

The state Department of Health classifies both Beadle and Minnehaha Counties as having substantial community spread, meaning that there are five or more cases of community-acquired COVID-19 in the county.

Hughes, Lyman, McCook and Lincoln Counties have minimal to moderate community spread at this time, meaning there is a single case of community-acquired COVID-19 in a county not related to travel.

There are now 268 pending tests in Pierre and 819 negatives.

Of the positive cases, 13 of 41 have recovered, 22 of 41 are men and 19 are women.

Instead of taking questions from reporters or announcing new cases in her daily briefing Wednesday, Gov. Kristi Noem addressed the public directly.

"I want you to understand that we are doing our absolute best. Our best is very good," Noem said. "I want to ask each and every one of you to pause. To take a step back."

Noem told stories of grocery store employees breaking down to customers about their daily fears; about her own staffers who work upwards of 60 to 70 hours a week to deliver answers to the press and the public; about overworked health care professionals in the state.

"Last night, I had a staffer that was trying to pick up groceries, and she asked the cashier when she went through the line how she was doing," Noem said. "Unprompted, this woman got very emotional. She started to get tears in her eyes, and she said 'I'm really scared.' For several minutes, this cashier outlined all of her fears and what was keeping her awake at night, and I understand that."

Noem said the state is in the fight against COVID-19 "for the long haul."

"For South Dakota, we expect that this will take many, many weeks, perhaps even months to run its course," Noem said. "I have state employees who are quite literally working around the clock."

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