HURON — Governor Kristi Noem visited Huron on Wednesday morning to address the new COVID-19 Community Relief Fund (CRF) program that was originally introduced on Monday. Noem addressed the $1.25 billion that the United States Department of Treasury distributed to the state for COVID-19 relief and that the state will be setting $200 million of that aside for communities and counties to submit reimbursements for expenses related to the virus.
Each community and county will have a maximum amount allocated, based on population. For the Heartland region, the following amounts are allocated:
Communities ($226 per person):
De Smet $237,832
Ree Heights $13,112
St. Lawrence $41,824
Wessington Springs, $205,955
Willow Lake $54,936
Counties ($66 per person):
Beadle County $1,219,001
Hand County $210,797
Jerauld County $132,978
Kingsbury County $326,269
Sanborn County $154,844
Spink County $421,197
Noem was clear that this is the amount set aside currently. “This is the initial amount that will come forward to help the city and the county. This virus is not going away, and neither will the costs to address it.”
She also mentioned that further programs could be coming for small businesses or families. “Our small businesses and families are hurting right now, and we will be working with the US Treasury to set up programs the right way if a new program is set up to use these funds.”
Beadle County commission chairperson Denis Drake said that the county was very thankful.
“We certainly didn’t expect to receive money like this,” Drake stated. “We will do justice in how we spend it.”
Drake and Beadle County Sheriff Doug Solem both strongly thanked the volunteers in Beadle County who have allowed costs in the county to remain manageable.
Noem was very complimentary of the Beadle County COVID-19 Unified Task Force.
“I’ve bragged about you all around the state,” Noem said. “You pulled together and worked with the Department of Health to deal with the challenge.”
Dr. Joe Carr asked the governor about funding for tests going forward, and Noem stated that she does believe there will be something done to continue funding for testing as flu and strep season returns in the fall and winter to allow for those tests as well. She did state that the funding for that is not clear at this time.
“The public wishes this virus was in the past and we could get back to what we’ve always done,” Noem emphasized, “but we know that we are not done with what we need to do to address the virus.”