MITCHELL, S.D. — Several more South Dakota cities are weighing mask mandates, joining the four that have already implemented them.
City leaders in Yankton and Deadwood have said they'll consider local mask mandates during meetings Monday, Nov. 23. The two cities will join Sioux Falls, Brookings, Mitchell and Huron with mask mandates.
Mitchell's city council will weigh Mayor Bob Everson's executive order implementing the mask mandate also at a Monday meeting, although Everson signed the order after noting it had the council's support. Rapid City's city council will consider a mask mandate on Nov. 30 after approving it at a first hearing last week.
South Dakota has no statewide mask mandate, and Gov. Kristi Noem has said she won't consider implementing one. But state health leaders, including the South Dakota State Medical Association and Sioux Falls-based health system Avera Health both have backed local and state mask mandates.
City leader action on mask mandates is arriving toward the end of a particularly grim month. State health officials reported the deaths of 394 South Dakotans, nearly half of the state's pandemic death toll, in the month of November alone. And the surging number of cases has burdened hospitals and health workers in the state.
However, while the number of deaths have skyrocketed, new cases and hospitalizations have largely plateaued, while the number of daily active cases has dropped significantly in the past week.
The South Dakota Department of Health on Monday reported the fewest new positive COVID-19 cases since Nov. 2.
The state’s 783 new positive cases are the lowest single-day total since 526 on Nov. 2. It is also the second day in a row the new positive case-count came in less than 1,000, but just the sixth time this month the state has recorded fewer than four digits in a single day.
Also Monday, the state did not report any COVID-19-related deaths. Low death counts are a common occurrence on Mondays, as the state did not report any new deaths on Nov. 16 and only three on Nov. 9. The South Dakota death toll remains at 819.
The number of active cases grew for the third consecutive day, with the state claiming 17,350 active cases, with 582 current hospitalizations. The percentage of positive tests also grew after showing a five-day decline. Of the 2,079 new people tested, 37.7% were positive.
As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status. If this coverage is important to you, please consider supporting local journalism by clicking on the subscribe button in the upper righthand corner of the homepage.