South Dakota officials and health system leaders released on Friday, April 3, a consensus prediction for when the coronavirus pandemic will peak, as Gov. Kristi Noem grapples with criticism of her resistance to implementing statewide orders keeping people home and closing businesses.

The pandemic is expected to peak in mid-June, requiring 5,000 hospital beds and 1,300 ventilators, according to a joint consensus with South Dakota-based Sanford Health, Avera Health and Monument Health.

Noem said the state does not currently have the beds and ventilators it needs to meet that projected surge.

“We have a plan to get there. And we will get there by the time we reach our peak infection rate in June,” she said.

Between 30-70% of the state population will get coronavirus, according to the projection.

South Dakota’s confirmed case county climbed 22 to 187 on Friday, tripling the state’s total in a week.


Minnesota rolled out a new coronavirus dashboard that collates granular data and the location and population of those affected by the illness.

"I want to be candid with you Minnesota," Gov. Tim Walz said during a live-streamed public briefing. "A lot of folks are not putting out this information because they are afraid it will create a sense of panic."

Walz said he was concerned about how the reluctance of governors in three states bordering Minnesota to issue stricter measures could impact the state's efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Three of Minnesota's neighbors — Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota — have so far bypassed stay at home orders aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, and have instead opted for other measures aimed at responding to the pandemic.

On Friday, 789 in the state had tested positive with 22 deaths.

North Dakota

North Dakota will launch pilot coronavirus testing projects this weekend in Stark and Slope counties in an effort to find more cases, especially people who don't show symptoms.

The pilot programs could help the state determine how asymptomatic residents can spread the virus, making it possible to catch positive cases early, Burgum said. The results also could be used to develop models for the rest of the state, he added.

The announcement comes after North Dakota confirmed on Friday a total of 173 cases of coronavirus. That includes 14 additional positive tests from the most recent batch.


Gov. Tony Evers on Friday signed an executive order calling on the Legislature to meet in special session 4 p.m. Saturday, April 4, to take up issues regarding the April 7 spring election and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local governments in western Wisconsin have been pushing for residents to vote absentee.

There were 1,916 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. Thirty-seven have died from the disease.

Regular weekly initial claims for unemployment doubled from the previous week to 110,928 for the week that ended March 28, compared to 5,678 for the same period a year ago.

Around the region

  • Sanford Health now has rapid testing capability for the coronavirus infection that yields results within 90 minutes, considerably shortening lab turnaround time for its highest priority patients. The rapid testing will be used for those who are hospitalized, health care workers and elderly adults living in long-term care facilities. Rapid tests are now available in Fargo and Sioux Falls, S.D., and could be available in Bismarck and Bemidji, Minn., as early as next week.

  • Ten days after granting emergency approval for compassionate use of the time-tested antiviral treatment known as convalescent plasma transfusion therapy, the FDA has designated Mayo Clinic as the lead institution for coordinating investigational use of the promising intervention in the care of patients with severe or life-threatening COVID-19.

  • In a bipartisan effort, 32 U.S. senators all are urging the Trump Administration to support rural America during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for farmers who produce the nation's food supply. The senators asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to provide "needed to relief to farmers" as the coronavirus spreads across the nation and wrecks havoc on the U.S. economy.

  • Internet providers aren't necessarily seeing more usage by customers, but rather a shift in peak times as more people are working from home and students are remote learning, regional industry leaders said.

  • President Donald Trump put Maplewood, Minn.-based 3M on blast after ordering the conglomerate to increase its stockpile of N95 respirator masks, said to be needed desperately for health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump's order, made under the federal Defense Production Act, bars 3M from exporting U.S.-made masks to Canadian and Latin American markets.

  • An antibody test aimed at detecting whether a person has had the coronavirus could help put Minnesotans back to work, Gov. Tim Walz said. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has said it will have the serology test available Monday.

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