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RAPID CITY – One year into the pandemic, South Dakota has lost 1,933 people to Covid-19, with 45 deaths this month. There have been a total of 117,081 people who tested positive statewide including 1,358 new positive tests last week, an increase of 128 from the week prior.

Oglala Lakota County currently has a daily positivity rate of 0%, with 15 of 2,082 positive tests still contagious and no new positive tests this week. There have been a total of 49 deaths in Oglala Lakota County. While some counties continue to keep their numbers low, others are experiencing rising daily positive rates.

Minnehaha County has a daily positivity rate of 33.5% with 804 of 29,491 people still contagious, an increase of 93. Two new deaths were reported last week, bringing the county’s total deaths to 342.

Lincoln County is another area experiencing an increase, with a daily positivity rate of 23.8%. There have been 77 deaths in the county with 207 of 8,165 people still contagious.

Pennington County has reported a total of 191 deaths, with a current daily positivity rate of 9.8% and 154 of 13,226 people still contagious.

The daily positivity rates were calculated by dividing the positive people by the total number of people tested by day and do not include the total county population. The World Health Organization recommends that the positivity rate stays under 5% for at least two weeks before easing restrictions.

South Dakota has a cumulative hospitalization rate of 5.9% with 74 people currently in the hospital, an increase of 5 from the previous week.

The South Dakota Department of Health reports that 392,186 vaccine doses have been given out with 242,294 people getting at least their first dose. 149,880 people have received both doses of the two-dose vaccine(s) and 7,244 people have received the Johnson and Johnson single dose vaccine. The CDC recommends that people still take precautions even after they have been vaccinated, including wearing a mask in public. At this time, there is no cost to people receiving the vaccines.

Most people who have experienced side effects of the vaccine have reported short-term, mild symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, or low fevers.

As of March 27, there were 1,137 new recoveries reported, bringing the state total to 112,705 reported recovered cases. Recovered cases are recorded when patients who tested positive respond to the SD DOH, who report they have a 36% completion rate and are continuing their efforts to follow up with people who tested positive.

On March 25, the SD DOH announced two additional Covid-19 variants were confirmed in South Dakota. Earlier this month, 14 cases of the UK variant were confirmed in Minnehaha County, one case of the South African variant was confirmed in Brookings County, and 5 cases of the California variant were confirmed in Roberts County. Part of the Lake Traverse Reservation, Roberts County is home to members of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. After the cases were confirmed, the tribe’s Covid-19 response team issued a public statement urging the public to “rigorously continue and practice all CDC recommended precautions now more than ever.” The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe is providing quarantine services to their members via the SWO Covid-19 Hotline at (605) 698-8249.

The CDC has classified the two California variants, known as B.1.427 and B.1.429, as “variants of concern” noting “there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease (increased hospitalizations or deaths), significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures.”

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