In the wake of a record-high number of COVID-19 infections in South Dakota, the state's leading medical association is calling for the increased use of face masks in the Mount Rushmore State.

On the organization's website, today (October 27), the South Dakota State Medical Association announced that it backing recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to wear face coverings in public:

'The SDSMA joins the CDC in calling for all Americans to wear a face-covering to prevent COVID-19 spread. A recent editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reviewed the latest science and affirms that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when used universally within communities.'

The endorsement of masks for all South Dakotans runs counter to the official stance of Governor Kristi Noem, who has repeatedly rejected calls for a mask recommendation, instead leaving the decision up to each individual state resident.

The South Dakota State Medical Association announcement comes in the midst of what has already become the state’s deadliest during the pandemic, with 152 people dying so far in October.

Tuesday's numbers from the South Dakota Department of Health show 984 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, with an additional five probable positives.

11,188 South Dakotans are currently dealing with the virus, with 395 COVID-19 related hospitalizations across the state.

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