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Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem appeared on "Your World with Neil Cavuto" Monday to discuss the implementation of astatewide clinical trial for the experimental antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine.
"I'm a lot better being on offense than I am on defense, and when COVID-19 started to hit our country and our state, I started to think of ways that we could work together to be aggressive to fight this," Noem told Cavuto Monday.
"Today we announced that we are partnering with all three of our major health care systems in the state for the first statewide, state backed clinical trial, using [hydroxychloroquine] to be able to make sure that we're protecting our citizens and treating them. Those that are at high risk, our health care providers and then also other patients in the state."
South Dakota is the first state in the country to institute a program exploring the potential effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating and preventing coronavirus.
"So we're set up right now to treat up to 100,000 people in the state of South Dakota, and we'll be the first statewide and state-backed and endorsed clinical trial using hydroxy in this form," Noem said.
Noem also addressed the recent closure of a Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls due to the coronavirus outbreak, saying the food supply chain is a matter of national security.
"The plant is taking a pause, allowing its employees time to heal and to get back up and running, using some mitigation efforts to protect their employees," Noem said. " ... There's still a big part of our national security, that's providing a safe and effective food supply for this country."
The plant was forced to close Sunday after hundreds of its approximately 3,700 employees tested positive for COVID-19. According to Smithfield, the Sioux Falls plant accounted for “4 to 5 percent” of the entirety of U.S. pork production.
Fox News' Brooke Singman and Michael Bartiromo contributed to this article.