A Senate committee is advancing a bill that continues the Department of Health authority to place people not following COVID-19 guidelines in court-ordered isolation.
The bill repeals a sunset provision added last March.
Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says the state has used the measure 10 times since the COVID pandemic started. She says it’s been used appropriately.
“We work very hard to help people understand what they need to do to keep themselves safe and keep others safe. By and large that works extremely well," Malsam-Rysdon says. "Sometimes people need additional information to do that safely. We’re happy to do that. We work very effectively with people across the state. The very small number of people where we’ve needed to go this step have had a lot of challenges to being able to comply with those medical recommendations and the intervention orders have, in fact, worked.”
Health officials say about one in eight South Dakotans have had COVID-19.
The bill passed the committee by a vote of 6 to 1.
The state argues transmission of the disease and coronavirus mutations as reasons to keep the practice in place.