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  1. Producers of lamb meat and wool in South Dakota have seen demand and market prices plummet during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the industry made up mostly of small producers is weathering the storm by adapting and changing processes.
  2. Despite the pandemic and frequent claims by President Donald Trump that the 2020 general election will be rife with fraud, South Dakota auditors and election officials say they are ready to hold a fair, accurate and timely election that will produce reliable results. Safeguards are in place to ensure accurate voting by mail; preparations are being made to process a record number of absentee ballots; and precautions are being taken to make in-person voting at polling sites as safe as possible.
  3. Even with the state economy mostly up and running, many restaurants continue to struggle as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Employees have lost jobs, owners are fighting to pay bills and stay open, and communities are facing the loss of eateries that serve as foundations for dining and socializing.
  4. With little or no state or school district guidance in place, many South Dakota teachers who hope to decrease the risk of COVID-19 infection in their classrooms are spending their own time and money to erect barriers and partitions aimed at reducing the spread of the airborne virus.
  5. State health officials say they have ramped up contact-tracing efforts and are comfortable they are effectively reducing the spread of COVID-19. But some experts worry that without more testing and faster results, and an increase in the contact-tracing workforce, that the virus will continue to spread across the state and nation and slow the economic recovery.
  6. Research shows that smoking cigarettes and other activities that inflame the lungs are linked to heightened risk of serious complications from COVID-19. Doctors in South Dakota and beyond are urging those who smoke tobacco, vape or use marijuana to stop in order to reduce their health risks during the pandemic and to improve their long-term health.
  7. Some individuals, businesses and farm operations in South Dakota are likely to declare bankruptcy in the coming months due to economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, financial experts predict. High unemployment, an increased reliance on credit cards, mounting debt and the recent loss of federal aid will cause some, including those who long felt financially stable, to face the difficult decision to file for bankruptcy.
  8. Aug. 3, 2020 update: The number of cases in this outbreak continues to rise. The state Department of Health has now confirmed that 93 campers and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 after an outbreak took place at the popular Christian summer camp located near Keystone. Camp operators say they have closed the camp as a result. The state investigation into the outbreak is continuing.
  9. Eight students at Northern State University in Aberdeen and one youth who attended an athletic camp at NSU have tested positive for COVID-19. All of those infected are experiencing no or only mild symptoms, but contact tracing and an investigation into the potential for more cases are ongoing.
  10. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced dozens of community theaters across South Dakota to close for several months, costing the theater groups significant amounts of revenue and placing hardship on employees, volunteers and communities that thrive on theater as a creative outlet. As theater groups try to return to putting on shows, worries persist over safety at performances and whether a continued shutdown could push some organizations to the brink of closure.
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