Noem leaves masks out of steps to help slow spread of COVID-19

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announces on Monday, June 22, 2020, that city and county...
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announces on Monday, June 22, 2020, that city and county governments will be able to access federal coronavirus relief funds as she speaks at the Sioux Falls city hall in Sioux Falls, S.D.((AP Photo/Stephen Groves))
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 1:37 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem looked to South Dakota’s response to COVID-19 heading into the next year.

Gov. Noem continued to encourage that South Dakotans take personal responsibility to minimize the spread of COVID-19. While South Dakotans feel tired of COVID-19, Gov. Noem urges personal hygiene in her first press conference about the virus in July.

Noem listed washing hands, practicing good hygiene, and staying home when sick but did not mention wearing a mask. When questioned, Noem said she has remained consistent in her stance that those who feel the need to wear a mask can but that she believes in people’s personal responsibility to make decisions for themselves and their family.

“I don’t want to approach a policy or a mandate, looking to make people feel good. I want to do good,” Gov. Noem said when asked about responding to medical professionals who are asking for a mask mandate.

Elderly populations need more protection, as Gov. Noem said 51% of people who have died of COVID-19-related deaths in S.D. were in nursing homes.

On Wednesday, the state’s case count totaled 68,671. Total recovered cases are now at 48,757. Active cases are at 19,240 with current hospitalizations at 593. Gov. Noem’s press conference come on the same day the state reported 30 new deaths from COVID-19. Of the 674 deaths throughout the pandemic, nearly 250 deaths have been reported in the month of November alone.

Rapid City Council is looking at passing a city ordinance to require masks, Mayor Allender announced Tuesday. This comes after Sioux Falls pass its mask mandate Tuesday. Huron and Brookings are two other South Dakota cities who

“At this point, frankly, I’m getting more concerned about how neighbors are treating neighbors and how people are treating each other in their communities,” Gov. Noem said.

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