DOH: Vaccinated South Dakotans make up less than 2% of new COVID-19 cases, deaths

KELOLAND.com Original

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Data on vaccinated South Dakotans has been proving how effective the COVID-19 vaccine has been.

The first batches of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in South Dakota on Monday, Dec. 14. State epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton said data on “breakthrough cases” through June 9 in the state showed was 372 cases, 53 hospitalizations and 11 deaths.

From Dec. 14 to June 9, there’s been 32,960 cases, 1,907 hospitalizations and 764 deaths from COVID-19. From those totals, people who have received the vaccine represent 1.13% of new cases, 2.78% of hospitalizations and 1.44% of deaths. 

“Think about that,” Clayton said during the final department of health COVID-19 media briefing. “Since December, only 53 individuals who have been vaccinated have been hospitalized and only 11 individuals who have been vaccinated have died. Let that sink in.”

In total, there’s been 2,026 deaths from COVID-19 and 6,925 hospitalizations as of June 16. There’s been an average of 13 new coronavirus cases per day and 28 people are listed as currently hospitalized for the virus.

“The vast majority of those individuals are folks who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine,” Clayton said. “Folks who are being infected now, are preventable infection with vaccination.”

As of Wednesday, 55.98% of the population 12-years-old and above has received at least one dose while 51.28% have completed the vaccination series.

DOH officials refining COVID-19 hospitalization data

Since May 28, there’s been a drop of 663 total hospitalizations.

Health officials with the DOH said the large decrease with total hospitalizations is not a mistake.

“The data had been collected. We are combing through it with a much greater refinement to identify how closely aligned that hospitalization was with COVID-19 infection,” Clayton said. 

For example, Clayton said, a person who tests positive is reported as a positive case and a hospitalization in close proximity to the infection would be counted as a hospitalization. Health officials are now retracing COVID-19 hospitalizations to see the hospitalization was closely tied to the the COVID-19 infection, and not for other medical emergencies not associated with COVID-19. 

Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said from the healthcare system perspective, regardless of why a person is hospitalized, if there’s a positive COVID-19 person, they have to take proper precautions.

Clayton said other states will be doing “data quality work” in August to help the CDC get a better align the data with the impact of COVID-19.

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