As COVID cases decline, SD DOH moves to weekly reporting

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The South Dakota Department of Health is making changes to its COVID-19 reporting. Starting next week, numbers will be reported weekly, every Wednesday.

2 18 Covid Cases Vo00 00 00 00still001The Department of Health says this is because coronavirus cases in South Dakota have decreased below the level of substantial community spread. That threshold is 50 cases per 100,000 people.

Monument Health’s Vice President of Medical Affairs, Dr. Shankar Kurra, says with the low positivity rate, it may reach a point in the next few weeks where there are no new COVID-19 cases to report. Dr. Kurra says vaccination and prior infection has contributed to those numbers.

“A lot of people have been vaccinated; 60% at least. And then those that have not been vaccinated, [the] vast majority of them have had the infection,” Dr. Kurra says. “So between those two groups, we’re at 80-90%; the population is protected in one way or another.”

Dr. Kurra says we are now in the endemic stage, where the virus continues to circulate minimally and we see small increases in case numbers during the winter months.

“Masking is still the safe thing to do, in addition to the most important thing, which is vaccination,” Dr. Kurra adds. “Masking in public crowded spaces indoors is very important…outdoors, not so much.” 

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