Gov. Noem says South Dakota is doing ‘good’ as virus surges

South Dakota News

FILE – In this Jan. 23, 2019, file photo, Gov. Kristi Noem gives her first budget address to lawmakers at the state Capitol in Pierre, S.D. Noem will use her State of the State address to pitch prospective businesses on why they should move to South Dakota, the Republican governor told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/James Nord, File)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Kristi Noem has insisted that South Dakota is excelling in its handling of the pandemic, even as the state surpassed 9,000 active coronavirus cases and matched an all-time high for deaths reported in one day.

Noem has stuck to a “freedom-first” strategy, downplaying the danger of the virus while emphasizing the economy.

The Republican governor told Fox News late Wednesday that the state is managing the pandemic and that its “economy is thriving.”

Data produced by Johns Hopkins University shows South Dakota ranks second in the country in new infections per capita over the last two weeks.

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