July 4, GDD still a ‘go’

Jason Ferguson
While events around the country and across the state continue to be postponed or cancelled, Custer’s Old Time Country Fourth and Gold Discovery Days are still a go.
Custer Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Dolsee Davenport said, while both events are still planned to take place, it won’t be without modifications. One change is that there will be no kids’ fair during the July 4 celebration.
“Our main concern is for the health and safety of the residents and visitors who enjoy those events each year,” Davenport said.
Davenport said no final decisions have been made as to how or if Gold Discovery Days will be altered.
On the tourism front, Davenport said the number of people coming to the Visitor Information Center and phone calls received are on the upswing. May 20 was the chamber’s busiest day in the two weeks since the building reopened.
“What we’ve heard from the S.D. Department of Tourism is that overall, South Dakota has seen an increase in travel spending recently and that people who plan to take a road trip are planning trips in June and July,” she said.
Davenport said the chamber has taken measures at the Visitor Information Center to protect the health of  staff and visitors, including install-ing a hand sanitizer station people are encouraged to use. Davenport said chamber staff are wearing masks when interacting with visitors and have implemented more stringent cleaning procedures. Visitors can request a “grab and go” packet of information that chamber staff will take outside if the guest requests it.
In other COVID-19 news:
• The Department of Social Services (DSS) received $9 million in CARES Act funding to support child care providers registered and licensed by DSS.
• Monument Health  began using donated blood plasma to treat patients severely affected by COVID-19. The transfusions are part of a Mayo Clinic research project to determine the effectiveness of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients as a treatment.
In patients who have had COVID-19, the plasma  contains antibodies that may fight the virus.  
Monument Health seeks donors in western South Dakota whose convalescent plasma could save lives. Donors must have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and been symptom-free for 28 days.
For more information, visit monument.health/covid-19-south-dakota/covid-19-clinical-trials.
• U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the department is making available up to $1 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during the coronavirus pandemic. Agricultural producers not eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency loans may receive funding under the USDA Business & Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program.
B&I CARES Act Program loans must be used as working capital to prevent, prepare for or respond to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The loans may be used only to support rural businesses, including agricultural producers, that were in operation Feb. 15.
Program funding expires Sept. 30, 2021. Eligible applicants may contact their local USDA Rural Development State Office.
USDA will host two webinars to provide an overview of program requirements. To register for the webinar June 3 at noon visit globalmeetwebinar.web
• The DSS office in Custer is open to the public by appointment only.
Appointments may be made Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling 673-4347 or 877-763-0006. The office is located at 1164 Mount Rushmore Rd, Suite 3.
Resources and information are available online at dss.sd.gov.
A drop box for child support payments, assistance applications and other important paperwork is available at the DSS office. 
Staff will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering any DSS facilities and the agency asks that any symptomatic customers refrain from coming into offices. Physical distancing will also be practiced.
Globally there have been 5,634,586 documented cases of the virus, resulting in 349,184 deaths. Over 2.4 million people have recovered. In the U.S., there have been 1,711,008  cases, with 99,950 deaths and 467,134 recoveries.
In South Dakota there are 4.653 cases to date, of which 1,121 are active. There have been 50 deaths in the state caused by the virus and 3,415  people have recovered. There have been 30,697 negative tests in the state. Custer County has tested 122 people, and all tests have been negative.
Most of the cases in South Dakota are on the eastern side of the state, where Minnehaha County has had 3,274 cases and Lincoln County has had 230 cases. In the Black Hills, Pennington County has had 156 cases (of whom 28 have recovered), while Lawrence County has had nine, all of whom recovered. Fall River County has now reported four cases, two of whom recovered.

User login