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COVID-19 positive cases increase to 730 statewide Sunday; Smithfield Foods shuts down

The number of positive coronavirus cases increased by nearly 200 over the weekend to a total of 730 confirmed cases in the state.  An update Sunday from the state Department of Health says 89 of the 104 new cases reported Sunday are in Minnehaha County, where more than half of that county’s 527 cases have been in employees at the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Sioux Falls. The company announced Sunday that it would close the plant until further notice. No new COVID-19-related deaths were reported Sunday.  A total of six people in the state have died from the virus. There have been 43 people who have been hospitalized, and close to 200 people have recovered.

Area positive cases as of Sunday stand at two in Lake County, with one recovered; one in Miner County; and eight in Brookings County, with six recovered.  McCook County has had two positive cases, with one death and one recovered.  

State DOH COVID-19 information

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(AP) — Virginia-based Smithfield Foods is closing its pork processing plant in Sioux Falls until further notice, after dozens of employees tested positive for the coronavirus. The announcement came a day after Gov. Kristi Noem and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken wrote to Smithfield and urged the company to suspend operations for 14 days. As of Sunday, 293 people who work at the plant have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and the company announced an indefinite closure. CEO Kenneth Sullivan says closing the facility, and other closures in the industry, could have severe repercussions in the meat supply chain.

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(AP) — The South Dakota Secretary of State’s office says it will be sending absentee ballot applications to every registered voters to push people to mail in their ballots for the June 2nd primary instead of showing up to polling locations. Physical polling places will still be open. But one county auditor says many poll workers are concerned for their safety. The primary will come just weeks before Gov. Kristi Noem has predicted that virus cases will peak in the state. The Legislature has the power to postpone the election, but some lawmakers don’t think it will be necessary.


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