NOEM: Going on Offense against COVID-19

NOEM: Going on Offense against COVID-19

For many weeks, I have said that South Dakota is going to let the science, facts, and data drive our decision-making in the fight against COVID-19.

The science has left us with one worrisome truth: we cannot stop the spread of this virus. But we can take action to slow it down. That action needs to be targeted and based on facts and data, not driven by fear.

I firmly believe one of the best defenses is a good offense. And, in conjunction with our other mitigation efforts, South Dakota is keeping its people safe by going on offense against COVID-19.

South Dakota is now the first state in America to launch a statewide, state-backed clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine to fight COVID-19. We’re testing it both as a therapeutic to treat the disease and as a preventative measure. There have been many success stories about the effectiveness of this drug. Hopefully, our trial will gather the science, facts, and data to support those success stories.

We were also the second state to launch the Care19 app, a phone app that will help our state Department of Health with contact tracing to slow the spread of this disease.

Though I’ve taken some criticism from the mainstream media for our targeted, thoughtful approach, the data and the facts continue to show that the people of South Dakota have taken my guidance seriously.

As I’ve said before, my role with respect to public safety is something I take very seriously. But the people themselves are primarily responsible for their safety. They are the ones entrusted with expansive freedoms - they are free to exercise their rights to work, worship, and play - or to stay at home, or to conduct social distancing.

South Dakotans are stepping up and taking their personal responsibility seriously. They are acting to keep themselves, their loved ones, and their fellow citizens safe. And because of this, our projections continue to improve.

This week, Department of Health staff along with chief medical officials from Avera, Monument, and Sanford presented updated projections that show a further flattening of our curve. In total, thanks to the diligence of South Dakotans, we’ve cut our peak hospitalization projections by 75 percent.

Though we’ve seen marked improvement, my request to South Dakotans is to stay the course. We are well-positioned to win the fight against COVID-19, but we need to hang in there a little bit more. Please continue to social distance, practice good hygiene, and self isolate when sick.

Remember, we will get through this, just like we always do.

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