The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in South Dakota was 100 days ago, but for some people, it seems like a lot longer.

The coronavirus has affected the economy everywhere, including Lake County. In many situations, we believe we've fared better than some parts of the country that went into a full lockdown.

But "better than some" still isn't "good" and the virus has certainly caused harm to local businesses, especially those involved in tourism. City of Madison sales tax receipts have dropped sharply, and we expect some other economic fallout in coming months.

Even so, we have the ability to minimize some of the damage by conducting commerce in Madison and Lake County. We understand how it may be appealing to order basic household goods from Amazon or other distant sellers. But every $100 sent far away removes $100 from our local economy.

It can be hard to see how local purchases help our local economy, but the impact is greater than a person thinks. Yes, there are sales tax receipts that pay for city streets, parks and recreation programs. There are also people employed at local businesses, who then conduct commerce of their own in the city.

Local jobs help people buy houses and pay property taxes, which fund local schools, law enforcement, county roads and other essential services. A person might think that all those things will happen anyway even if the person shops online, but they won't.

We have a terrific opportunity to rally and come out of the coronavirus mess in good shape. We need to stick together, support one another in all ways, and become the great community we are capable of.

-- Jon M. Hunter