Monument Health says West River COVID cases to stabilize

RAPID CITY, S.D. — COVID-19 cases in South Dakota have been on a downward trend from a recent peak. Monument Health officials say they believe the numbers will keep going down, but only under certain conditions.

On Monday, active cases in the state reached 3,057. West River reporting 1,007 active cases last Thursday, but what do these numbers mean moving forward? How do we gauge the severity of the virus?

“Are the numbers rising and that means rapid transmission is occurring,” said Dr. Shankur Kurra, vice president of medical affairs, Monument Health. “How many of those are getting hospitalized? Which would be an indicator that things are worsening and more importantly is how effective are we in opening schools, colleges and using the mitigation suppression measures we have in place currently.”

He says he expects West River cases to have peaked with the most recent spike and expects case numbers will begin to stabilize. With their own model projections updating on a weekly basis, Monument takes daily COVID reports and social factors into account like tourism, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and the on-going school year.

“It’s a tough one to predict. The math is very simple, if you have a large rise in cases like we saw right after the Rally, if that continues, hopefully not, but if that continues and keep continuing having large cases, what it means is there’s human to human community-based transmission occurring and that’s the only way this virus knows how to spread,” said Dr. Kurra.

At most, Monument Health reports 35 patients hospitalized in a day for COVID-19 and have since been averaging between 25 and 30 patients a day.

Statewide, hospitalizations have topped in the low 80s – a contrast from April projections where peaks were expected at 2,500 patients needing hospitalization.

But, Dr. Kurra adds that those outlooks depend on the decisions people make on a daily basis.

“It depends on how as a community, as a local and regional and statewide – what we do,” said Dr. Kurra.

That means wearing masks, washing your hands, and social distancing.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News