PIERRE, S.D. (AP/KCAU) – South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken sent a letter to Smithfield Foods on Saturday providing some recommendations for the company, including closing for a minimum of 14 days.
South Dakota Department of Health announced 90 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 626.
Health officials said 86 of the 90 new cases reported in the state are in Minnehaha County with 48 connected to the plant.
Of the 438 total cases reported in that county, 238 of them have been tied to an outbreak at a Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Sioux Falls.
She said for the pork processing plant to close as soon as possible to protect its employees, their families, the Sioux Falls community, and the people in the state.
The governor is also asking for Smithfield Foods to continue to provide full pay and benefits for its employees during the 14-day suspension, as well as paid sick time for those that are infected and symptomatic to encourage them to stay home.
“In an effort to further prevent spreading of the virus to their families, to their community members, and the City of Sioux Falls,” said Gov. Noem.
She also announced that Sanford Health and Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center will work together to set up a joint testing center for that “hotspot and those individuals in Sioux Falls.”
Gov. Noem said that it will be very valuable to the state as they go through the upcoming weeks.
The governor mentioned that more details are to come on where the center will be and how it will be facilitated.
To read Gov. Noem and Sioux Falls Mayor TenHaken’s full letter to Smithfield Foods, click below.
Watch the replay of the live stream below.