PIERRE, S.D. (By Danielle Ferguson, Argus Leader) – Two of the 14 deaths reported Thursday in South Dakota were in Day and Walworth counties.
Both counties now have two reported deaths. Other deaths across the state included three in Minnehaha County, where 100 deaths are now reported; two each in Brookings and Pennington counties; and one each in Davison, Gregory, Lawrence, Lyman and Tripp counties.
The majority of deaths were seen in people 80 and older, with 11 people dying in that age group. Two deaths were in people aged 60-69 and one death was in someone aged 70-79. Twelve were women and two were men.
The 14 new deaths and 973 new cases were reported Thursday, according to the state Department of Health’s updated numbers. The previous record for new recorded deaths was on Oct. 1, with 13 people who reportedly died from COVID-19.
That brings the amount of South Dakotans who have died of COVID-19 to 347.
Another 23 people are being hospitalized for the illness for a total of 355.
COVID-19 patients are occupying 13.2% of staffed hospital beds and 22.7% of staffed ICU beds. Non-COVID-19 patients are occupying just over 51% of staffed hospital beds and about 41% of staffed ICU beds.
The new cases came from 4,486 tests. The last day’s positivity rate was 16.4%, according to the state website. The positivity rate for the last seven days was 14.4%.
Active cases now stand at 9,273, an increase of 585 from Wednesday.
Recoveries increased by 374 to a total of 26,397 people who have reported recovering from the illness.
Thursday’s new cases bring South Dakota’s total coronavirus cases to more than 36,000. And 5,000 of those cases have been reported in the last week.
The state hopes to soon offer at-home saliva testing for people who are considered close contacts to COVID-19-positive patients.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its definition of a close contact this week. Anyone who has been within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 for a cumulative 15 minutes — rather than one consecutive 15-minute contact — within 24 hours should monitor for symptoms and work with their healthcare provider on whether they should get tested.
Brown County added 31 new cases for a total of 1,854. Of those cases, 386 are active cases.
Codington County added 29 new cases for a total of 1,325. Active cases are at 301.
Around the area, Clark, Faulk and Hamlin counties each added seven new cases. Five new cases were added in Grant, Roberts and Spink counties. Four new cases were added in Day County and three new cases in Walworth County. Deuel, McPherson and Kingsbury counties each added two new cases. Potter, Edmunds and Campbell counties each added one new case.
Updates and expansions have been made to the Small Business and Healthcare Provider Relief Program, according to a news release from Gov. Kristi Noem’s office.
This program uses Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars to assist small businesses, community-based health care providers and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are offering even greater flexibility for our small businesses and healthcare providers, the lifeblood of our community,” Noem said in a news release. “South Dakota is in good shape, and these grant dollars will help our communities to bounce back stronger than ever.”
For all grants, the application period has been extended by a week, to Oct. 30. Additionally, the minimum grant threshold has been decreased from $750 to $500.
For the Small Business COVID Interruption program, the Small Business Startup program, and the Small Nonprofit COVID Interruption program, the maximum grant has been increased from $100,000 to $500,000. Additionally, the eligibility requirement has been expanded from a reduction in business of more than 25% to a reduction in business of more than 15%.
Questions can be directed to the state’s call center between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 605-937-7243 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. More information on the program can be found at Covid.sd.gov.
Noem also announced $10 million has been awarded to the South Dakota Housing Authority to assist residents who have been impacted by COVID19 and need assistance with housing expenses.
The assistance, funded by the state of South Dakota from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, can provide South Dakotans with up to $1,500 a month. Eligible applicants can earn additional funds if they can demonstrate financial need and are at risk of losing their housing. Assistance can be provided for past due rent, mortgage and utilities. It may also be used for future housing payments from March 1 through Dec. 30.
Assistance provided is not a loan and does not have to be paid back. Payments are made directly to the landlord, mortgage servicer or utility provider on the applicant’s behalf. For more information and to apply, visit sdcareshousingassistance.com.