South Dakota Department of Health officials announced 77 new cases of COVID-19 spread across 23 counties, including another new death of a Minnehaha County resident, during the Friday, June 12 teleconference.
There were a total of 1,184 new negative tests reported, while more than 57,000 tests have been performed to date, state head Epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton said.
There are currently 913 active cases in the state, of a total 5,742 individuals to have tested positive for COVID-19, he said.
Hughes and Stanley counties remained at four and two active cases, respectively.
The 23 counties with new cases included one in each of Aurora, Clark, Coddington, Corson, Custer, Davison, Lake, McCook, Moody, Roberts, Todd and Tripp counties; two in Brown and Meade counties; three in Lincoln County; four in Brule, Faulk and Union counties; six in Clay County; seven in Beadle County; eight in Buffalo County; 11 in Pennington County; and 14 in Minnehaha County, state officials said.
There were no updates to the community impact map, Clayton said.
There were updates from the four clusters now being tracked by the state: DemKota Beef, JackLinks, Dakota Provisions and Avantara Arrowhead.
There are 158 individuals recovered of the 165 positive cases at DemKota; 78 of the 114 at JackLinks; and 30 of 63 employees at Dakota Provisions with COVID-19 have recovered, officials said.
Avantara Arrowhead reported two more positive cases Friday for a total of 30 positive cases. Nine of these are staff members, while 21 are residents, Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said.
The rest of the long-term care mass testing event is going well, she said.
“As of this morning, 17,182 tests have been completed,” Malsam-Rysdon said. “That includes tests for 7,502 residents and 9,680 staff.”
There have only been 69 total positive cases found in the mass testing event so far, she said.
Of the 69, 38 positive tests were among residents, while 31 were among staff, Malsam-Rysdon said.
“That represents a positivity of 0.4%,” Malsam-Rysdon said.
With colleges in the state looking to provide in-class instruction, the question arose about how college students would be tallied in the hypothetical situation of a campus outbreak or other cluster involving college students potentially away from home.
For the purposes of this count, state officials tally college students as residents of the county in which they attend classes, regardless of their permanent addresses, Clayton said.
Meanwhile, state officials no longer anticipate a sharp peak such as the one they had been preparing since early April. Instead, they anticipate smaller peaks in different areas of the state, as the virus has proven its ability to travel well.
While there will be a peak of numbers to look back upon after the pandemic, or at least much further in the future, it will most likely, if people continue to be cognizant of their surroundings and hygiene, not result in the number of infections it could have.
The state’s preparedness of a peak was for hospital occupancy, and with only around a 100 people in hospitals across the state, the now more than 2,000 beds ready to receive people may not see full occupancy. Yet, officials continue to monitor the situation, they said.
The secretary reminded residents one of the new tables on the state website has data dedicated to the occupancy and utilization of hospital space, with hospital, ICU and ventilator use data, she said.