• South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem opposed a shelter-in-place order for her state. 
  • Without the order, a Sioux Falls Smithfield meat processing plant quickly became a hotspot for coronavirus activity. 
  • Noem was working with federal officials at present to get the plant back open, insisting the state needs to "stay the course." 

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem initially opposed a statewide shelter-in-place order. To date, the state still has no regulations in place to that end. Still, Gov. Noem, a Republican, insisted Wednesday (April 16) the state has endeavored to make a difference, and citizens have made strides toward "bending the curve."

"We have cut our peak, and that's a good thing, and that is encouraging to all of us," said Noem, during a recent press briefing. "Our health care system can handle what's coming at us."

Despite Noem's positive outlook and insistence that South Dakota was actually on the uptick when it came to surviving the novel coronavirus pandemic, the number of those who have tested positive in the state has risen to a whopping 1,168. A recent outbreak at a Sioux Falls Smithfield meat processing plant was responsible for over 640 cases.

Employees at the Smithfield plant who contracted coronavirus now make up nearly 50% of the number of diagnosed parties in South Dakota. The Smithfield facility has since closed, but researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were dispatched to assess the situation. There have since been six deaths in the state following this hotspot of viral activity.

Former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb expressed concern over these rising numbers in a recent tweet.

"South Dakota has become one of the fastest growing hot spots in U.S., even as other parts of nation see their epidemics start to level off or slow. South Dakota has a doubling time now of about 4 days. In the setting of the ongoing national epidemic, every state is vulnerable," he explained.

Still, despite these alarming numbers, Gov. Noem does not believe it's "appropriate" to issue a formal stay-at-home order, insisting the public has managed to do a good enough job of following guidelines in place to go without it. In fact, she was currently working with federal officials to create a plan to "safely reopen the plant" in the near future.

"We need to stay the course," Noem insisted of her plans to move forward with her own method. It remained to be seen how long the Smithfield plant will stay closed.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
Gov. Noem originally opposed a stay-home order for South Dakota, but is now dealing with an abundance of coronavirus cases. United States Congress / Public domain