South Dakota COVID-19 FAQs: March 20
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SDPB is committed to keeping you informed. Please let us know if you have questions about Coronavirus, COVID-19 and the pandemic. What do you want to know? Text your question to 605-956-7372. We’ll aggregate the questions we receive and offer answers throughout the day on SDPB and during South Dakota Focus as well as at SDPB.org/covid. SDPB’s Jackie Hendry is responding today to several questions that have already been submitted.

Viewer FAQs from Friday, March 20, 2020:

Why are we only reporting counties of residence?

  • Governor Kristi Noem says they’re reporting counties of residence for test results because that’s what’s desired at the federal level.
  • I haven’t yet heard anyone directly ask what towns the positive cases are in. However, I’d expect an unwillingness to answer based on privacy—but don’t know if we don’t ask.

How can we say there’s no community spread with such a backlog of tests?

  • Governor Noem says she can only report what they have confirmed. As it stands this morning, the state DOH is investigating the three new cases in Beadle County. That process includes interviewing the new patients and anyone they’ve come in close contact with.
  • A reporter from the Argus asked this very question. You can access the question and the governor’s response here:

Why are bars and restaurants still open?

  • Governor Noem says South Dakota hasn’t reached the threshold laid out by CDC that would lead her to make that sort of adjustment.
  • Worth noting: our neighbors Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, AND Wyoming governors have taken the step to close those businesses---however, they have documented community spread.
  • As for Montana: several counties have taken similar action on that level. I have not been able to confirm if they have community spread.
  • Rather than proactive action, it’s my guess that the governor is waiting for CONFIRMED community spread….which again, is likely delayed, due to the testing backlog.

What’s the situation on commercial labs to process tests?

  • The last I’ve heard, Sanford and Avera are working on setting up their own processing, but it’s not ready yet.
  • Governor Noem said yesterday that the state is going to begin sending lower priority tests to commercial labs – out of state.
  • Sec. of Health did not specify where these commercial labs are. She says the turnaround on results for those can vary but could be about 4-5 days.
  • The state lab—at this time the only lab in south Dakota able to process results—has about a 24 hour turnaround rate…as long as they still have supplies.