Skyrocketing unemployment. A potential state budget shortfall that will likely require legislators to convene for a special session. The question of whether South Dakota has enough hospital beds and ventilators in case of severe COVID-19 outbreak.
To say Gov. Kristi Noem is a little busy these days may be an understatement.
Still, Noem remained optimistic during her most recent news conference on Friday at the State Capitol in Pierre.
“Frankly, we’re really encouraged by our numbers,” Noem said.
There are plenty of numbers for Noem to consider at this time. These include:
90 — The number of COVID-19 infections the South Dakota Department of Health confirmed on its website as of Sunday;
28 — The number of South Dakota counties now reporting at least one COVID-19 infection, which is nearly 50% of the 66 in the state;
1,703 — The number of South Dakotans who filed for unemployment benefits during the week of March 15-21, a ninefold increase from the number who sought help the previous week;
9 — The number of “emergency” pieces of legislation members of the South Dakota Legislature are set to consider today during so-called “Veto Day;”
2 — The number of months until Noem said legislators will likely convene for a special session to deal with adjustments to their budget for the new fiscal year;
$2.2 trillion ($2,200,000,000,000) — The estimated value of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law late Friday.
Noem said regardless of the outcome of the legislation formally introduced today, there will likely be a special session in June because of how taxing COVID-19 is to the state budget.
“The impact to our state’s budget is significant. I am telling the legislators that I will sign bills that we did for the budget and sign them into law, but I’m not going to spend that money,” Noem said Friday.
“We’re going to probably come back in June and have a special session and make some changes that are very significant to our state budget,” she added.
Noem did not share any information Friday regarding how much of the $2.2 trillion federal package may end up in South Dakota.
“We are still looking at the details of that,” she said during the conference when answering a question posed by the Capital Journal. “There are dollars that will flow into these caregivers here in South Dakota that will be incredibly important in the future.”
“There are still some hoops to jump through to make sure we can utilize all the resources that are available to South Dakota,” Noem added.
Confirmed cases in Pierre: 1
Confirmed cases in Fort Pierre: 0
Confirmed cases for all of Hughes and Stanley counties: 1
Confirmed cases for South Dakota: 90
By County: Hughes-1
Aurora — 1
Fall River -1
Lawrence — 3
Roberts — 1
Todd — 1
Turner — 1
Union — 1
Yankton — 4
Confirmed cases for U.S.: 122,653
By State: New York-38,977
Louisiana — 2,305
Georgia — 1,714
Montana — 90
Confirmed cases for World: 638,146
By Nation: U.S. 122,653