90 new COVID-19 cases; Noem, TenHaken call on Smithfield plant to close

South Dakota reported 90 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the largest single day increase in confirmed cases.

That brings the total number of statewide cases to 626. That number does not include tests pending in private labs or those without symptoms who are not being tested for the disease.

Of the 90 new cases, 86 were in Minnehaha County, which is now up to 438 confirmed cases. There are no new confirmed cases in Brown County, leaving the total at 14. Codington County remained at 12 cases.

In Sioux Falls, as the number of coronavirus cases with Smithfield Foods workers continues to rise, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken are recommending an immediate closure of the meat packing plant.

The state Department of Health said 238 of the state’s 626 cases involve workers at the Sioux Falls facility. On Friday, the state said 190 workers had tested positive.

“I am sending a joint letter with Mayor Paul TenHaken,” Noem said. “We recommend that they suspend operations for a minimum of 14 days. As soon as possible.”

Earlier: Smithfield workers asked for safety from COVID-19. Their company offered cash.

Noem also said they are recommending that Smithfield continue to pay workers for the full 14 days.

Smithfield previously announced that it would shutter operations for three days starting Saturday and continue through Monday.

The state reported no new deaths. The number of recoveries increased by 12 to 189.

As of Friday’s numbers, South Dakota led the region 60.75 cases per 100,000 people. Iowa has reported 43.98 cases per 100,000 people and Wyoming 43.79.

(visit www.aberdeennews.com)