The COVID-19 outbreak has hit the city of Mitchell.
Gov. Kristi Noem announced there has been one presumptive positive case of COVID-19 -- the disease that's caused from the Coronavirus that has been spreading on a global scale -- in Davison County during a press conference Tuesday in Pierre.
A Mitchell resident was one of five presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the state of South Dakota, which were announced Tuesday, as well. Test results are considered “presumptive positive” until the result is confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, presumptive positive cases are to be treated as if they are confirmed cases.
Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson said he was informed of the COVID-19 through Mitchell Public Safety Director Glen Still and Gov. Noem’s press conference around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Everson was critical that he and the city of Mitchell weren’t informed of the presumptive positive COVID-19 case earlier by the South Dakota Department of Public Health.
“It’s strange that we haven’t been informed by the South Dakota Department of Public Health, and I reached out to the County health nurse, which is a community branch of the South Dakota Department of Public Health,” Everson said Tuesday evening. “I’m not pleased at how we learned of these cases. This is ridiculous. We should have been notified immediately.”
The Mitchell resident who tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 is a female between the ages of 30 and 39. She has been quarantined, according to the Gov. Kristi Noem’s office. To Everson’s knowledge, the local resident contracted the virus from an airplane flight. Another presumptive positive test was confirmed Tuesday in nearby Charles Mix County, which Everson said he is aware of and monitoring.
To reduce the spread of the virus, Everson urged all Mitchell residents to frequently wash their hands and stay home if they become ill in any fashion. In addition, Everson encouraged local residents feeling sick to get tested, especially if they are experiencing any respiratory problems. Avera Queen of Peace hospital and several local clinics in Mitchell have test kits available for helping diagnose COVID-19.
“The city is issuing a notice to department heads and staff to stay home and get checked if they are feeling ill,” he said.
In the worst case scenario, Davison County Emergency Management has the power to shut down businesses and the city of Mitchell. According to Everson, Davison County issued a mandate Tuesday that explained the protocol of business and city shutdowns.
“Hopefully this issue will not come to that, but we need to take this very seriously and keep it contained,” Everson said. “If you’re feeling sick, get tested. And my goodness, stay home if you are feeling ill and haven’t been tested.”