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South Dakota State Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon answers questions from the media in the second of her news conferences, this one from the Governor’s Large Meeting Room in the State Capitol, May 21 in Pierre.

The South Dakota Department of Health reported 106 new positive cases and two more deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, May 22 in Pierre.

The deaths, which brought South Dakota’s COVID-related total to 50, involved Minnehaha County residents, state officials said.

There were 934 negative test results returned for the day, state head Epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton said.

The new cases on Friday included one in Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Oglala Lakota, Sanborn, Tripp and Yankton counties; two in Buffalo and Roberts counties; four in Union County; five in Coddington County; seven in Lincoln County; 14 in Brown County; 16 in Minnehaha County; 19 in Beadle County; and 27 in Pennington County.

Stanley and Hughes counties remained with two and four active cases, respectively.

“We are seeing community spread cases in many of our counties,” Clayton said. “We continue to update the community impact map.”

State officials continue to work with businesses impacted by COVID-19, Clayton said.

Through Friday, May 22, the state will have facilitated the allocation of approximately 4,200 specimens from individuals in the first tier of the state’s assisted living mass testing event, Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said.

The remainder of the first tier, nursing homes and assisted living environments, are scheduled to be finished within the next five days, Malsam-Rysdon said, as she said they will be working during Memorial Day weekend.

Tier two testing will begin next week, Malsam-Rysdon said. State officials expect data to start arriving from the first tests within the next few days.

Also, there was a new infographic tab on the state’s Department of Health COVID-19 website as of Friday, May 22, increasing from three to four.

The new tab is labeled “Hospital Capacity,” and contains data compiled from the state’s hospitals regarding beds, ventilators and COVID-19 capacity for occupancy.

“All of the hospitals in the state are reporting actively in the system,” Clayton said.

State officials have 2,400 beds allocated for individuals requiring hospitalization for COVID-19, they have said numerous times. Originally, it was projected South Dakota could need 5,000 beds to meet the needs associated with COVID-19, but a month into the situation, the curve was flattened enough to recalculate the projections.

Another updated number is the amount of people infected with COVID-19 who will be asymptomatic could be as high as 35% now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on May 22. This is up from the original projection of 20-25% when the pandemic started.

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