SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Forty one South Dakotans tested positive for COVID-19, as known cases in the state passed 5,000 on weeks of high daily test numbers, the state Department of Health reported Monday, June 1.
But while the number of known cases continue to rise in a few counties, the outbreaks seem to be limited to local areas and some of the key measures tracked by state officials indicate the pandemic's spread and growth in the state seems well in hand.
There 1,069 South Dakotans currently known to have the virus and 87 are hospitalized, both numbers that have remained largely flat over the last two weeks, according to a Forum News Service analysis. The state has never had more than 1,393 residents known to have the virus and at most, 106 have been hospitalized — well below the expectations of modeling conducted in recent months and well within the capacity of the state's health care systems.
According to the Department of Health, COVID-19 patients are using 6% of intensive care unit beds, 4% of all hospital beds and 6% of ventilators.
The virus is known to have sickened 5,034 South Dakotans and hospitalized 435, although public health officials have long maintained many South Dakotans will catch and potentially spread the virus without having any obvious symptoms.
About a third of all COVID-19 testing in the state has taken place in the last two weeks, powered by the state's first large-scale mass testing effort, a four-week plan to test all residents and workers in elder care and assisted living facilities. That testing effort has processed 10,200 tests alone, said Kim Malsam Rysdon, secretary of the Department of Health, during a testing update call Monday morning. The state-coordinated four weeks of mass testing is now entering its third week.
State, clinical and private labs have now processed 45,661 tests, up 1,533 from the previous day. COVID-19 has killed 62 South Dakotans, with no new additional fatalities reported Monday.
Two of the state's largest known outbreaks include the DemKota Ranch Beef plant in Aberdeen and the Jack Link's Protein Snacks beef jerky plant in Alpena. Out of 160 DemKota employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, 134 have recovered, said Dr. Josh Clayton, state epidemiologist. Of the 83 employees at Jack Link's who have been diagnosed with the virus, 33 have recovered.
The state helped with a mass testing event this past weekend at the Jack Link's facility and there will be another mass testing event for Jack Link's on Wednesday, Malsam Rysdon said.
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