PIERRE, S.D. (By Lisa Kaczke, Sioux Falls Argus Leader) – Nineteen school districts in South Dakota have at least one COVID-19 case, according to state health officials.
There are fewer than 40 COVID-19 cases among students, teachers and staff in South Dakota, state epidemiologist Josh Clayton said during a media call on Thursday.
The state health department plans to post the number of cases among students and staff on its COVID-19 website beginning on Monday, but it won’t be releasing the names of the schools where those cases are occurring unless there’s a larger exposure event, Clayton said. Parents of students who are affected by cases are notified, but the data on the website will be at a statewide level so “there’s some understanding of total number of cases, total number of school districts,” he said.
The state health department will investigate each case among students and staff at K-12 schools and universities to identify close contacts who may have been exposed and notifying the close contacts, Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said. She added that the health department is working with schools to gather information on who was in close contact with a positive case at schools.
Cases at universities are reported to the health department in the state of the student’s permanent address and they’re included in that state’s case count. The South Dakota health department has already been notified about a college student testing positive who is out of state, Clayton said.
Fewer than 25 cases have been connected to attendance at the Sturgis Rally, including some out-of-state cases that have been reported to South Dakota health officials, according to Clayton.
Those are cases where the person attended the rally within 14 days of the onset of their symptoms. That doesn’t mean the rally is the only place where they may have been exposed to it, Clayton said.
Two public notices of potential exposures have been issued, one for One-Eyed Jack’s Saloon in Sturgis and one for Bumpin’ Buffalo Bar and Grill in Hill City. Public notices are issued when the people who came into close contact with the positive case can’t be identified and “the number of exposed is unknown,” Clayton said.
Two more deaths
Two more people have died of the coronavirus in South Dakota, and the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state increased by 125 on Thursday.
South Dakota has a total of 157 COVID-19 deaths, according to the South Dakota Department of Health.
One man who died was in the 60-69 age range and one man who died was in the 80-plus age range. One was a Davison County resident and one was a Minnehaha County resident. Davison County’s COVID-19 deaths now total two and Minnehaha County’s deaths total 70, according to the state health department.
South Dakota has a total of 10,691 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, according to the state health department. That doesn’t include people who show symptoms or are asymptomatic but are not tested. A total of 1,687 test results were reported for 1,061 people on Thursday. The positive rate for people tested for the coronavirus was 11.8%.
The state has 1,269 active COVID-19 cases, according to the state health department. Recoveries statewide increased to 9,265. Five more people have been hospitalized and 53 are currently hospitalized. The state health department says 940 total people have been hospitalized during the pandemic.
The state hasn’t encountered any cases in which the person believed the virus is a hoax and that’s not an issue in the recent increase in cases in South Dakota, Malsam-Rysdon said. The state is expecting to see more cases because people are out more and coming into contact with more people, she said.