Avera Medical Minute: Latest COVID assessment

Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 1:07 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The presence of COVID-19 tapered slightly in spring, but cases have been increasing again. According to the South Dakota Department of Health’s latest weekly report, there have been five additional deaths due to the virus, and hospitalizations have increased. The Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are largely to blame as they make up about 80% of the cases circulating within the United States. Dr. David Erickson, Avera’s Chief Medical and Innovative Officer, says we have been relatively stable the last few months; however, cases and hospitalizations have crept up.

“If you look across the country, we’re [at] over 100,000 cases per day,” Dr. Erickson said. “I think that’s significantly underreported because of that at-home testing. We are running about 37,000 hospitalizations across the country, so clearly our case count and percent positivity have gone up across the country.”

There are more tools to stymie the spread of the virus according to Dr. Erickson. Locally, the newly approved age group of six months to five years old for a COVID-19 vaccine has played a large role with clinics seeing increased activity. Data showed that the age group was significantly affected by the virus before the vaccine approval. Booster shots also continue to play an integral part and health leaders believe a bivalent vaccine will be possible this fall.

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