10 new COVID-19 deaths, 609 new cases recorded in South Dakota Wednesday
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - State health officials confirmed 10 additional deaths due to COVID-19 in South Dakota as active cases and current hospitalizations jumped Wednesday.
The new deaths bring the state’s total deaths due to the coronavirus to 258, according to the South Dakota Department of Health. Codington and Pennington counties each saw two additional deaths Wednesday. The remaining victims were residents of Beadle, Lake, Lincoln, Meade, Turner, and Union counties.
Officials confirmed 609 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing total known cases in South Dakota to 25,906. Active cases rose by 332 to 4,511, marking a new record high in active cases in the state.
Current hospitalizations rose by 23 to 273. Health officials say COVID-19 patients are occupying 11% of the state’s hospital beds and 18% of the state’s ICU beds. Currently, 39% of hospital beds as 21% of ICU beds are still available.
In a briefing Wednesday, State Epidemiologist Joshua Clayton said of the 254 inmates and staff at the South Dakota women’s prison in Pierre, 183 have recovered.
Change in case reporting
Wednesday’s new case report included a change in the way the Department of Health records new cases, according to Clayton. The state is now measuring probable cases, following the guidelines of the CDC’s national surveillance case definition.
Clayton said probable cases are measured in by factoring in antigen testing, which is used in rapid response testing that is able to get results quickly. According to the CDC, the sensitivity of rapid antigen testing is generally lower than the traditional method - known as PT-PCR - which the CDC describes as “the gold standard.”
On Wednesday, the state had 47 probable cases. These cases were added to the 562 cases confirmed through traditional testing to reach the total of 609. Clayton said the Department of Health also factored in probable cases to its total known case count, which added 421 cases. When added to the daily count, total cases rose by a 1,030 on Wednesday.
Sec. of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said the state investigates probable cases the same as confirmed cases. The Department of Health identifies close contacts and recommends quarantine measures.
Officials said while the new differentiation between “confirmed” and “probable" might seem confusing, in the end, there is little difference between how the state is treating the two.
“I would say the distinction between probable and confirmed to the average person is nil,” Malsam-Rysdon said. “Because they will be treated the same as being positive for COVID, and they should take those necessary precautions.”
Malsam-Rysdon said she expects to see an increase in antigen testing results, as the federal government is distributing this type of tests to long-term care facilities, schools, and other entities across the country. She said she expects South Dakota to receive 260,000 antigen tests from the federal government by the end of December.
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