Brown County up to 107 COVID-19 cases

ABERDEEN, S.D. (By Elisa Sand – Brown County is now up to 107 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

That is up 14 from Thursday. With Friday’s numbers from the South Dakota Department of Health, there are now 61 DemKota Ranch Beef employees who have tested positive. That’s up three.

Of the cases in Brown County, four have required hospitalization, an increase of one. There have been 728 negative cases.

Statewide there were 239 new positive cases, putting the total number at 3,144. Much of that increase was in Minnehaha County, where 203 new positive cases were confirmed. Lincoln County added nine. Other new cases were added in Union, Pennington, Hughes, Moody, Clay, Todd, Lake, Meade and Clark counties.

Friday’s was the second case in Clark County. The first person has recovered.

There are 1,044 active cases statewide and 76 people currently hospitalized, according to state numbers. There were no new deaths reported with the total holding at 31. There have been 18,149 negative tests.

Local numbers

Brown County Emergency Management Director Scott Meints said everyone is concerned about the increase in positive tests locally.

“The state is working with both hospitals to provide additional testing (at DemKota),” Meints said.

Those tests aren’t for every employee, he said. Those who are tested still have to be symptomatic, but testing is no longer restricted to workers with underlying health conditions.

Meints said there are positives and negatives to the additional testing. And, he said, there has to be consideration for the testing supplies needed.

“Testing everyone is not really beneficial because you can be negative one day and positive the next,” he said.

Were everybody tested, he said, those tests would be needed daily.

That increased testing will result in more positive tests, Meints said. The next step is ensuring those who test positive isolate themselves until the virus runs its course.

Meints said one challenge this week has been developing ways to better communicate with DemKota employees to ensure medical instructions are provided in their native language.

He reminded people that COVID-19 numbers in Brown County and South Dakota have not yet peaked. That’s expected in June, so case numbers are going to continue to rise. That’s why it’s important for residents to be proactive by wearing masks while in public and routinely washing their hands.