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Covid-19 update – SD 80,000 cases confirmed

RAPID CITY — South Dakota now reports over 80,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases state wide and over 12,000 of those are currently active.

Pennington County has recently exceeded 10,000 cases while Minnehaha County is over 23,000 cases reported.

Oglala Lakota continues to fall in the list of most impacted counties of the state and remains under 2,000 confirmed cases.

Rapid City Council failed to pass the second reading of a watered-down mask mandate last week. Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender passed the tie-breaking vote in order to not approve the reading.

Around 30 people that were in attendance of the meeting spoke against the watered-down resolution which is significantly less than previous meetings. Many of them refused to wear face coverings within City Hall which began requiring face coverings last month.

“Your lack of respect for our rules does not sway me at all,” said Councilman Ritchie Nordstrom who voted in favor of the resolution. “You’re telling us how to sit, how to conduct ourselves, our eyes should be on you, but you do not respect our rules of no mask, no service within City Hall. That is disrespectful for me.”

Councilman Bill Evans was not in attendance and cited the Presidential COVID-19 Task Force recommendation that anyone above the age of 65 should not be in a public space with any unasked people.

South Dakota State Legislator Helene Duhamel tested positive for COVID-19 last week after attending a dinner at the Governor’s Mansion in Pierre. She was quickly hospitalized at Monument Health in Rapid City but has since given positive updates on her health and health care.

Kristi Noem provided an opinion in the Wall Street Journal ( in which she praises South Dakota’s response to the pandemic.

“In South Dakota, as we have done throughout this pandemic, we will forge a different path,” Noem wrote about placing the responsibility of health on South Dakotans.

“Many in the media have criticized this approach, labeling me ill-informed, reckless and even a ‘denier’,” she continued. “Some have asserted that South Dakota is ‘as bad as it gets anywhere in the world’ when it comes to COVID-19 — a demonstrably false statement.”

Noem then cites numbers from Illinois and New Jersey and compares them to South Dakota’s. Aaron Blake, a correspondent with the Washing Post, dissected the difference in numbers in an analysis which is published on their website. (

The FDA approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use and will have met on Dec. 17 about Moderna’s vaccine. South Dakota expects to receive 7,800 Pfizer vaccines and 14,600 Moderna vaccines within the first round of distribution. The first vaccination rounds will likely go to 19,000 health care workers and the second round of vaccinations will go to around 11,000 long term care residents.

Operation Warp Speed is prepared to deliver vaccines to states within as quickly as 24 hours but the general public will likely not see vaccine access until April or May.

The South Dakota Department of Health website will hopefully have data displayed on the COVID-19 dashboard that details where vaccine supplies are being allocated in the state.


(Contact Travis at

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