“Actually, we’re doing really good,” Gov. Kristi Noem said.
Officials would have seen a spike a few days ago but instead have recorded a declining number of virus cases.
“I think what we did here in South Dakota is really remarkable because we gave people their freedom. We let the businesses stay open. We let people go to work. We told them to be smart. And we also asked them to be personally responsible, and we’re seeing the benefits of that each and every day in South Dakota,” Noem, a Republican, added.
While some experts criticized South Dakota, things have turned out well, Noem said, crediting residents of the state.
The governor urged officials to trust those they govern, adding, “Don’t lay down mandates that are going to hinder the ability that they need to really get through this difficult time. Trust them. Give them the facts. Let them make decisions that are right for their families.”
Noem was speaking during a Friday appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
A number of health officials said they were concerned about the fireworks event at the national monument before it happened.
“Right now, we feel that we have enough beds for what we’re currently undergoing, but if we have large events such as this event at Mount Rushmore, that has the potential to overwhelm the hospital system,” Dr. Ben Aaker, president of the state’s medical association, told the Argus Leader last month.
“It looks to me like a perfect storm for an easy transmission of this deadly disease,” added Michael Klatt, a retired public health adviser who at one time worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Noem also drew criticism for announcing that attendees of the event wouldn’t be social distancing, or maintaining six feet of distance from non-household numbers.
“We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks, if they choose to wear one. But we won’t be social distancing,” she said during an appearance on Fox in late June.
According to the state Department of Health, there were 95 new CCP virus cases on Thursday, and 865 active cases in the state. That’s one of the lowest case counts in the nation.
Only 61 people with COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, are currently hospitalized.
Over 6,800 patients have recovered, while 116 have died.