How do South Dakota’s COVID-19 numbers compare to other small states? Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota is one of eight states with a population of less than 1.1 million.

How does it compare to those other seven states in terms of coronavirus numbers?

As of Oct. 6, South Dakota had 4,170 active COVID-19 cases and 24,876 total cases with 201,477 total individuals tested.

The state has more confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases than Alaska, Delaware, Vermont, Wyoming and Montana but fewer than North Dakota and Rhode Island. Some of the state’s department of health websites list confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases. The data is from the websites as of Oct. 6 unless otherwise indicated.

Alaska has 8,613 total cases. Delaware has 20,392 confirmed and 1,074 probable cases as of Oct. 6. Montana has 15,347 total cases. Wyoming has 5,660 confirmed cases. Vermont has 1,821 cases.

According to the New York Times COVID-19 tracking site, North Dakota ranks first in terms of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. South Dakota is second.

North Dakota has 24,364 COVID-19 cases. Rhode Island, another state with fewer than 1.1 million people, has 25,596.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s estimated population for the eight states is:

  • South Dakota: 884,659
  • Alaska: 731,545
  • Delaware: 973,764
  • North Dakota: 762,062
  • Montana: 1,068,778
  • Rhode Island: 1,059,361
  • Vermont: 623,980
  • Wyoming: 578,759

The population of the eight states varies and so does their geography and demographics.

South Dakota has 10.7 people per square mile while Rhode Island has 1,081 people per square mile. Alaska, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming all have populations per square mile comparable to South Dakota’s.

While Delaware and Vermont’s population per square mile is higher than South Dakota’s, those states are not nearly as dense as Rhode Island. Delaware has 460.8 people per square mile while Vermont has 67.9.

Research on how population density impacts the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 varies from having big impacts on outbreaks and spread to a lesser factor when compared to health, access to health care, demographics and other factors.

An August 2020 study called “Urban Density and Covid-19” by Felipe Carozzi, Sandro Provenzano
and Sefi Roth found that “…our results show population density appears to affect the impact of COVID-19 only through the timing of outbreaks and not through the rate of subsequent spread.” The paper was published by the Centre for Economic Performance.

The online version of the Journal of Rural Health outlined on June 6 the susceptibility and resiliency to COVID-19 in rural and urban areas. The study said rural areas could be more vulnerable than urban areas because of the high level of nursing homes and aging population. Although some rural areas may have these factors in common with some dense metro areas such as Boston.

Gov. Kristi Noem and South Dakota Department of Health officials point to the state’s hospitalization rate as a key indicator of how well the state is performing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state has had 1,670 total hospitalizations throughout the pandemic. There were 250 hospitalized as of Oct. 6.

Once again, Vermont leads the states with one person hospitalized as of Oct. 6. The site said 139 Vermont residents have been hospitalized and hospitalization was unknown for another 87.

As of Sept. 27, according to the state’s website, Alaska had 301 total hospitalizations that did not include present day counts. But 33 new hospitalizations were listed on Oct. 6.

Montana had 773 total hospitalizations and 216 current hospitalizations.

Rhode Island had 93 current hospitalizations and eight in ICU. The website said hospitalizations are provided on Wednesdays.

As of Oct. 5, Wyoming had 36 patients reported by hospitals in the state.

Delaware had 87 hospitalized in the state and 20 in critical care on Oct. 5. New admissions have been trending down since Sept. 22 but all hospitalizations have been trending upward, according to the state’s public health website.

Although North Dakota has more positive COVID-19 cases than South Dakota, it has fewer hospitalizations as of Oct. 6. The state had 968 total hospitalizations. It had 116 active hospitalizations with 27 in the ICU and 89 in non ICU beds as of Oct. 6. Of the total hospitalized during the pandemic, 233 needed ICU beds.

Rhode Island has the most COVID-19 deaths with 1,125. Delaware was next with 646 deaths with 566 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 80 probable. North Dakota is next with 280 followed by South Dakota with 248. Montana has 192.

Alaska, Wyoming and Vermont have less than 100 deaths each, according to their departments of health.

Alaska has 58 deaths. Wyoming has 53. Vermont has 58 deaths.

South Dakota DOH officials have said in multiple news briefings said the state was on track to reach its goal of conducting tests each month that equal 5% of the state’s population. DOH officials also said recently planned to increase testing soon.

The state has conducted 294,607 COVID-19 tests on 201,477 individuals.

North Dakota has had 673,003 tests on 250,087 unique individuals.

Alaska has conducted 479,374 tests, which is not a count of unique individuals tested.

Montana has conducted 372,720 tests and had 2,745 new tests as of the Oct. 6 report.

Rhode Island has done 828,014 tests and had 7,168 news tests on the prior day, according to the Oct. 6 report.

Wyoming has completed 175,670 tests on 105,193 individuals.

As of Oct. 5, Delaware had done 297,513 COVID-19 tests, which is 3,133.4 tests per 10,000 people.

Vermont has tested 167,441 people.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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