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Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken speaks with CNN anchor John King on Tuesday (Photo: screenshot)

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken appeared on CNN Tuesday afternoon, speaking about the recent spike in cases and hospitalizations in the city as well as South Dakota.

CNN anchor John King introduced TenHaken after discussing South Dakota’s record-setting COVID-19 numbers, including the highest positivity rate in the country, and asked the mayor why cases were on the rise.

More: Recovered coronavirus patients outnumber new infections amid more deaths

“It’s a little bit of everything,” TenHaken said, noting that schools and colleges are open, and the state has been holding in-person events.

“We are a state that values personal freedoms, and values liberties,” TenHaken said, “and because of that we haven’t had a lot of restrictions, we haven’t had a lot of lockdowns, we haven’t had a lot of government mandates. And with that comes an increase in cases.”

TenHaken said they weren’t hiding the fact that cases were surging, but said hospitals have not been overwhelmed by cases even as they rise.

Representatives from Sioux Falls’ major health systems, Sanford Health and Avera Health, said at a forum yesterday that current numbers were indeed manageable, with Sanford’s Michael Wilde saying the hospital could handle double or even triple the 30-40 COVID-19 patients it’s caring for on a daily basis.

“But of course we want to see hospitalization numbers decrease,” TenHaken said, saying they were taking a “light touch approach” focused on messaging, encouraging