SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The number of South Dakotans in the hospital due to COVID-19 continues its downward trend, according to data posted by the state Department of Health on Wednesday, July 8.

Fifty-four South Dakota residents are currently in the hospital due to the virus, down 10 from the previous day, according to information posted by state health officials. In the past week, there have been an average of 59 people in the hospitals, while in the previous week that number was 72.

The relatively low number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state is indicated in state tracking of hospital capacity. COVID-19 patients are using 5% of intensive care unit beds, 2% of total hospital beds and 7% of ventilators, which are crucial equipment for treating those sick with the virus.

The state continues to add new positive cases, as the pandemic continues spread. Testing uncovered another 79 COVID-19 cases, for a total of 7,42 South Dakotans who have been known to have caught the illness. Of those, 864 people are still sick with COVID-19, while 87% of those who have caught the virus in the state, or 6,280 people, have recovered.

The state's 14-day tracker continues to find a downward arc in the number of new positive cases, although there are some localized surges where some communities are seeing a rising number of cases. Those communities include Pennington County, home to Rapid City, and Lincoln County, home to part of Sioux Falls.

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No new fatalities were reported Wednesday. There are 98 South Dakotans who have died due to COVID-19.

State, hospital and out-of-state private labs processed another 861 tests, according to the data reported Wednesday, bringing total testing to 86,226.

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