The testing process to confirm cases of COVID-19 has been slow and inconsistent in South Dakota, but for now, experts say the painful and sometimes inaccurate test is the state's only way to track cases and to guide public policy.
As the COVID-19 pandemic lowers the global demand for ethanol-infused gasoline, South Dakota ethanol producers and the farmers who provide them with corn are facing a potential financial crisis. The ethanol market collapse caused by the pandemic comes on the heels of a bad year for the ethanol industry, owing to the trade war with China, a price war among oil-producing nations, and waivers given by the Trump administration that reduced ethanol use by American refineries. In early April, at least two South Dakota ethanol plants had gone idle.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hampered the tourism industry across South Dakota, but it could be especially painful for the small town of Keystone, which derives most of its business income and government revenues from tourists.
Businesses and employees are suffering from a lack of income due to the loss of tourism caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and South Dakota municipalities and state government stand to lose millions in sales tax revenues from the reduction in spending by tourists.
South Dakota lawmakers will consider a bill to delay municipal elections scheduled for April in Sioux Falls, Brookings and other cities, and to give Gov. Kristi Noem the power to delay the June 2 presidential primary until late July due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. The election bill is one of several virus-measures lawmakers may consider on the final day of the 2020 legislative session on Monday, March 30 to respond to the coronavirus that is slowly spreading across the state.
South Dakota lawmakers say the state's financial situation has been thrown into uncertainty by the COVID-19 pandemic and the sales tax revenue losses that will likely result. Fiscal leaders say a special session will probably be needed to redo the 2020-2021 fiscal year budget they just passed. As part of a budget remake, the pay raises promised to teachers, state employees and Medicaid providers may be in jeopardy.
South Dakota cattle ranchers are in a financial crisis caused by unfairness in the pricing system for beef products and by market woes created by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic that has led to upheaval of eating habits by consumers. Some see government assistance as the only way to stabilize the market and save South Dakota ranchers from bankruptcy.
If the COVID-19 epidemic gains a foothold in South Dakota, experts here and elsewhere are doubtful the state's medical infrastructure will be able to house and care for an influx of severely ill patients. Top medical providers in the state say they are ready to handle more cases, but it is hard for the public to know how many intensive-care beds or ventilators are ready because the providers and state officials will not release data on numbers or availability.
SAb Biotherapeutics in northern Sioux Falls is using its breakthrough technology — and a herd of cows — to quickly develop an effective treatment for the COVID-19 disease, which is spreading across the world and the U.S., infecting thousands. The company uses genetically engineered cows to produce human antibodies that fight specific diseases.
A strong reputation and strong relationships have helped Sioux Falls attorney Matt McCaulley position himself as both a top adviser to Gov. Kristi Noem and as a lobbyist for numerous private entities across the state. McCaulley shuns publicity and operates mostly behind-the-scenes of the legislative process. But his dual role in working for Noem, while continuing to lobby for 16 private clients, has drawn some criticism in Pierre.
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