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Gov. Noem: South Dakota preparing for 5,000 hospitalizations due to COVID-19

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PIERRE, S.D. (KTIV) -- South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem says the state has cut the number of people that will have contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus at the peak almost in half.

Gov. Noem said during a news conference Friday had the state not taken any action, the peak would have been this month. That would have caused an overload of hospitals with infection.

But, these actions will instead push the peak towards June.

Noem said the state will need about 5,000 hospital beds and 1,300 ventilators during the peak of the virus in mid-June. She said there is a plan in place for the state to get those needed resources by June.

She predicts that up to 600,000 people could become infected while the disease runs its course and anywhere from 30% to 70% of the population will get infected.

When asked why she hasn't issued "stay-at-home' order Noem said its an issue of sustainability for the state.

"So this has been a constant balance and analysis that we have been looking at and analyzing is how long can people change their way of life, how long can they stay at home, how long can children stay out of school, how long before we don't have any businesses left to employ people and put food on their table, how long can we keep people out of South Dakota or not let any South Dakotans leave the state," said Gov. Noem. "If I put all of those measures into place today I just want people to know I am being really honest and candid with you, is that you would have to sustain that activity, and shelter at home, and not leave, and not have our businesses open, and our borders closed until October."

The Republican governor plans to keep South Dakota among the dwindling number of states to not issue stay-at-home orders, calculating that the state's hospitals will be ready by mid-June to handle the peak of infections.

Noem says she is not sure what the death toll from the virus will be.


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April 3rd Update: SD Gov. Noem COVID-19 News Conference

SD Gov. Noem COVID-19 News Conference for April 3. For the latest COVID-19 coverage: https://ktiv.com/coronavirus/

Posted by KTIV News 4 on Friday, April 3, 2020

PIERRE, S.D. (KTIV) -- South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is scheduled to hold a news conference Friday at 1 p.m. to update the public on the state's response to COVID-19.

KTIV App Users: To watch the news conference on KTIV.com, click here

Click here to watch the news conference on KTIV's Facebook Page.

KTIV will also broadcast the news conference on channel 4.1.

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