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Get Real: Beadle County Coronavirus Cases All White Folks

Minnehaha County has caught up with Beadle County in the number of confirmed covid-19 cases in South Dakota. Throw in Lincoln County’s first case, and the Sioux Falls metro now has 14 cases, one more than the Huron metro’s 13 cases.

An acquaintance who hadn’t read that news today noted with interest that Beadle County was leading the state in cases of the coronavirus and noted with even more apparent interest that the population there includes a number of immigrants who work at the turkey plant.

My acquaintance had also not read the news yesterday that Huron Mayor Paul Aylward has firmly refuted the xenophobic rumor that immigrants sparked the coronavirus outbreak:

Huron SD Mayor Paul Aylward
Mayor Paul Aylward

Huron is made up of a diverse community, with over twenty-five percent of our population being from a different ethnicity. As the City of Huron has always welcomed our diverse community, we as community leaders continue to work with our different ethnic associations to manage the COVID-19 pandemic we all are facing. We as a community are in this battle together and are working with our neighbors who are battling the pandemic. This pandemic does not discriminate against anyone.

The South Dakota Department of Health verified to city officials all the positive Covid-19 cases in Beadle County are Caucasian.

We as a community are in this battle together. We need to work together as a community, neighbor helping neighbor.

We want to remind our citizens of social distancing and follow the guidance from your elected officials and Center for Disease Control, as we all deal with this pandemic [Mayor Paul Aylward, public statement, posted by Performance Radio, 2020.03.24].

Since early this month, Dakota Provisions has been ordering its turkey cutters, two-thirds of whom came to this country much more recently than the rest of us, to stay home for two weeks if they travel overseas.

One of those sick white folks from Huron may be helping quash other unhelpful rumors among his Trumpistani neighbors:

When the family of state legislator Bob Glanzer, a Republican from Huron, announced he had been airlifted to a hospital in Sioux Falls to be treated for COVID-19, many took heed.

Michelle Gascoigne, 61, said some of her Facebook friends had been spreading rumors that it was all an overblown hoax pushed by Democrats. She said she hasn’t seen posts like that since Glanzer was hospitalized [Stephen Groves, “State’s COVID-19 Hotbed, Huron Reveals Anxiety and Resolve,” AP via U.S. News and World Report, 2020.03.25].

If anyone is still harboring fantasies that this very real and universally threatening pandemic is being overblown, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender would like to straighten you out:

Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender did not mince words at a Wednesday news conference on how important it is for residents to practice personal responsibility in a time of a public health crisis.

“The overall assessment, and this is an opinion on my part, is that the public is just not taking this issue seriously enough,” Allender said. “We are standing around, sitting around waiting for this to be over sometime in the next few days, perhaps. We are irritated that businesses are closed. Some are outwardly defying the social distance recommendations and are offering to have parties where they defy all of these things.

“One common comment from citizens is that government shouldn’t run our lives and I’m going to take my chances. This is a lot of narrow-mindedness on this particular disease. You’re welcome to take your chances, but you’re not welcome to infect the rest of us who are trying to be safe” [Nathan Thompson, “Mayor Allender Urges Residents to Take Coronavirus More Seriously,” Rapid City Journal, 2020.03.25].

Listen to Mayors Aylward and Allender. Read real news, not rumors, and covid-19 and the measures to stop it seriously.


  1. jerry 2020-03-25 18:53

    While GNOem hides behind her skirt and shirks her responsibility as South Dakota’s chief elected leader, the mayors from Rapid City and Yankton show what leadership is all about. Maybe the governor should visit some recent you tube video’s of the governors of New York or California or Washington to prod her into seeing how state leadership actually works.

  2. Notinks 2020-03-25 19:53

    Glad Mayor Paul made that clear, but I have to wonder what he considers a “different ethnicity.”

  3. John 2020-03-25 20:31

    Mayor Paul “gets it”. Without the turkey plant and the hard working 1st and 2d generation immigrants running it Huron would likely have a population of 5-7,000 old, dying pilgrims who forgot how their grandparents and great grandparents got there. Area farms would have one less market. Huron once had 4 packing plants that sustained an imperfect, vibrant economy. Corporate ag buyouts, consolidations, and closures killed its economy and nearly killed what was once the states 4th largest city. Thanks SDSU Ag. Thanks USD business school. Thanks SD legislature. Thanks SD government and congressional delegations. Huron has to fight all the aforementioned and the xenophobia of too many of its old citizens to survive. Yet, this plucky city continues punching above its weight. Huron deserves better from this state and its own city residents.

  4. grudznick 2020-03-25 20:38

    No, Mr. John. Huron deserves to be the punching bag they have made themselves.

  5. Clyde 2020-03-25 20:50

    Think about this. If you are a poor migrant that has been overseas but really needs the work are you going to admit to having been overseas?

    Didn’t think so.

    My daughter has a fellow nurse that fit the same category but is lying about her overseas excursion.

    The Trumpist attitude of South Dakotan’s is going to be our biggest hazard. After all fearless leader said it was a Dem hoax.

  6. John 2020-03-25 21:04

    grudz: good you reveal you believe in the crawdad theory of dragging people down as opposed to lifting them up. That theory is why the only future cities in South Dakota will be Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and perhaps Brookings. The state, its government and corporate instruments, will eventually drag down all the others.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-25 21:06

    Notinks, I suspect that, like most South Dakotans of good conscience, Mayor Aylward doesn’t have to deploy the language of good liberal tolerance very much and thus isn’t as practiced at it as our friends from more diverse areas of the country who are getting used to speaking as something other than the majority race. I’ll excuse imperfect language and happily celebrate any elected official who stands up to racism and rumors.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-25 21:10

    Clyde, I don’t think “migrant” is relevant to your argument. Any poor worker dependent on a paycheck might be inclined to withhold information about travels if it meant the difference between paying the rent and feeding the kids or not.

    Then again, Donald Trump lies for the sake of nothing other than his ego and power. So neither migrant status nor income status seems central to the point about selfish deceit you seem to be making.

    We can’t make any assumptions about what various Huron workers who may or may not be traveling may or may not be telling their employers and the other people around them whose health they may or may not be affecting. But if Huron’s coronavirus cases have anything to do with unreported travel, it appears that unreported travel was done by white folks.

  9. Debbo 2020-03-25 21:25

    A significant danger comes from a white senator who was perhaps trying to show that he had manly parts without stripping.

    Rand Paul was in near proximity to people who tested positive for coronavirus. When he learned that he got tested for it. You know, like rich people, especially GOP politicians can. In the several days before getting definitive test results, Paul swam in the senator’s pool because he’s not busy and didn’t give a damn for his sister and brother senators. In fact, Paul practiced zero protective isolation to, you know, protect other people from possible exposure. Now he’s tested possible and finally FINALLY decided to get himself out of public spaces and into his home.

    Kentuckians lament being senatorized by Moscow Mitch and Pandemic Paul. I sympathize with them.

  10. Scott 2020-03-25 22:13

    Clyde comment

    “The Trumpist attitude of South Dakotan’s is going to be our biggest hazard. After all fearless leader said it was a Dem hoax.”

    Is right on. I still hear people repeating to me that Trump said it was fake and they are not listening to anything.

  11. Clyde 2020-03-25 22:26

    Well, Cory, I thought that was who was being blamed but yes replace the statement with “workers”

    I think my statements are correct though.

    Here’s what leadership on the subject looks like:

  12. John 2020-03-25 22:36

    Oh shucks. Senator Thune felt ill, allegedly, Returned to SD to see his doctor, allegedly. Perhaps exposing others on the flight, allegedly. Perhaps he should hug 45th, Senators Rand Paul, Rounds, and McConnell. After all, its a hoax. This is the new normal.

  13. Clyde 2020-03-25 22:48

    My first statement is very indicative of the problem. People, for whatever reason, not quarantining or taking this thing seriously. The Chinese got ahead of it by draconian measures that we are SO far from initiating. Much of the world has decent healthcare and are actually able to get supplies. My daughter is a Rn in an eastern Iowa hospital with C virus cases yet she has been issued ONE n95 mask and told to reuse it and guard it with her life. Med recommendations for those masks is to dispose of them after 6 hours.

    This country is much sicker than just Corvid 19.

  14. Eve Fisher 2020-03-26 07:50

    If you take a look at Breitbart – and that takes a strong, strong stomach! – you’ll see that the comments on an article about Trump reopening America for Easter are all either attacks on Commie Democrats who hate America OR “Praise God, we’re all gonna be Raptured!” Ruptured would be more like it. The wingnuts are out there, and they are not giving it up. The President and Fox News and Rush, etc., have thoroughly poisoned their well.

  15. mike from iowa 2020-03-26 12:10

    Poor immigrants aren’t welcome in the States, now, under drumpf.

    U.S. immigration law has long required officials to deny green cards to people likely to become a “public charge,” but the term had been narrowly defined as being dependent on cash assistance or institutionalized at the government’s expense.
    From around February 24th…

    The new rule broadens the definition to include anyone who would receive a much wider range of benefits and takes into account factors such as age, educational level and English proficiency.

    Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said in a Fox News interview on Monday that the new regulation would help ensure immigrants do not burden U.S. taxpayers and “will be able to stand on their own two feet.”

  16. clara Hart 2020-03-26 16:05

    I thank everyone in this blog that shares concerns and positive reports about Immigrants. It is always enraging when some few ill informed group of people that choose telling lies over facts. Unchecked information tends to spread faster than facts. Have we not yet learned anything in our lifetime? Taking advantage of people who may seem vulnerable is neither smart nor wise. This is a very unhealthy way to think and act. I would like to tell those who still like to hide behind their limited source of information to get out of your comfort zone and start to read more, get to know your neighbors better before making any judgements. The new economy drivers in Huron want to make it one of the best cities in the State of South Dakota. They have experienced both good and bad in their lives such that they had to leave what they knew behind to start a new life here in our beautiful State. They do not want you to try to make them re-traumatized. Have some compassion! They are not hurting you, they are helping pay taxes so you can someday reside in one of Nursing homes in the City instead of being sent somewhere far from your City or town. It is times such as these that bring people together for support, comfort and calmness. I thank the leaders of our State, cities and local leaders serving in different capacities that stand up to bigotry, racism and any other forms of discrimination. Please remember, you were one of them, I am one of them!

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