Less than 10% of South Dakota COVID-19 cases tied to West River communities

Health Secretary says fluctuations occur at different times, locations

PIERRE, S.D. – COVID-19 deaths in South Dakota more than doubled this week as statewide cases topped 300. East River getting hit the hardest, with all reported deaths and all new cases since last Thursday.

S.D. Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says there are only theories as to why East River numbers are spiking faster than West River communities.

“Certainly population density plays a role in how quickly this disease spreads and we’ve seen that in different locations,” said Malsam-Rysdon. 

On Friday, the state laid out their latest data for COVID-19 projections. Given that the numbers are very lopsided across the state, how does the contrast in case numbers  factor into the statewide projections? Malsam-Rysdon says all numbers statewide are included and the department continues to monitor the projections as the data comes in and the models evolve.

“We do anticipate we’ll see fluctuations in the number of positive cases at different parts of the state at different dates,” said Malsam-Rysdon. “It’s certainly nothing for anybody to sit back and wait for. We need to prepare now and we will see COVID-19 cases across the entire state including West River.”

The S.D. Department of Health reported Tuesday morning two additional deaths attributed to the coronavirus after confirming two yesterday.

Positive tests in the state rose by 32 to 320 total. Since the state’s first positive case on March 10, only 20 cases have been tied to West River communities in accordance with the state’s reporting guidelines.

Of the 20 West River cases, 12 have reportedly recovered from the virus. One of the six reported deaths in the state is linked to Pennington County solely due to legal residence. State officials have stated the person was not in the county in the two weeks prior to death.

The health department reports 98 patients have recovered from the coronavirus.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News