Models project what could be ahead for COVID-19 in South Dakota

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota is on pace for even more coronavirus deaths, hospitalizations and cases, according to several models that project the progress of the pandemic in the U.S.

The models are similar in their projections.

While universities and organizations are assembling models to project the pandemic in the U.S. and its states, South Dakota Department of Health officials said Oct. 14 that the state is not working with its own forecasts on the future of the pandemic in South Dakota.

“As it has been since the beginning, COVID is somewhat unpredictable,” DOH secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said.

The numbers that are being shared each week are critical to the response, she said. As cases increase, the state would expect to see increases in hospitalizations and other numbers, Malsam-Rysdon said.

“To say because we have this many cases today means we will need this many hospital beds tomorrow just hasn’t been proven or borne out,” Malsam-Rysdon said.


A joint model from Google and Johns Hopkins predicts that South Dakota will have 4,200 new COVID-19 cases from Oct. 13 through Oct. 26. The state will have 92 more deaths.

Hospitalizations would peak at 355 hospital beds during this two-week period with 215 in intensive care units and 144 on ventilators.

The state had 13 more COVID-19 deaths reported on Oct. 15. There were 797 new cases which includes 700 RT-PCR and 97 antigen cases, according to the South Dakota Department of Health website.

The model broke down the numbers by county. Minnehaha County is projected to have 69 more deaths and 1,035 more new cases. The daily hospitalizations will peak at 164 for the area.

Active COVID-19 and new daily cases in Minnehaha County as posted on the City of Sioux Falls COVID-19 dashboard. Numbers are from Oct. 15.

As of Oct. 15, the state had 304 COVID-19 patients in the hospital and a total of 2,000 total hospitalized since the pandemic started in the state.


The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington says South Dakota is on track for 332.36 deaths by Oct. 26. The state would have 579.83 new cases on Oct. 26. The model says if masks were mandated there would be 234.7 new cases that day.

The model projects 830 COVID-19 deaths by February 1, 2021.

On Oct. 26, 332 (331.8) hospital beds would be needed and 85 (84.6) ICU beds would be needed.

The South Dakota Department of Health COVID-19 update for Oct. 15. The update is on the website.

The models also reflect an uptick in hospitalizations and deaths which trail behind increases in cases.

In an Oct. 8 story by Courtney Collen published by Sanford Health News, Dr. Allison Suttle talks about the prior week’s COVID-19 numbers.

The story said “While human behavior dictates how this virus spreads, Dr. Suttle says what we’ve seen in the last seven days will predict what we see next.”

The Sanford story lists hand washing, social distancing of six feet, wearing a mask in public and staying home when sick as proper health and safety behaviors during the pandemic.

“We’ve seen an increase in cases which will continue and ultimately lead to hospitalizations. We start seeing those hospitalizations about two to three weeks after we see an increase in the number of cases. The only way we start seeing that trend decrease is if all the people start doing all of those behaviors (listed above) and then we’ll see less cases, and then that downward trend,” Suttle said in the Oct. 8 Sanford story.


The Centers for Disease Control lists multiple models in its forecasts for COVID-19 cases, deaths and related data.

The list includes Google and Johns Hopkins, the Iowa State model, the MIT model, the model from UCLA and about a dozen others.

Models from Iowa State and MIT all project steady daily increases in deaths in South Dakota. The COVID-19 forecast model from UCLA shows a nearly steady toll with no significant increase and no decreases after Oct. 1.

The UCLA model projects 229,000 total deaths in the U.S. on Oct. 31. Iowa State has 229,000. Iowa State’s range is from 228,000 to 230,000 while UCLA’s range is from 226,00 to 230,000.

UCLA’s model incorporates the reopening of states and lessened social distancing. Iowa State’s model does not make specific assumptions about interventions in effect.


The Bob Pango, or bobpango model, is also listed on the CDC website. Bob Pango has been analyzing data for 31 years, according to his website.

The bobpango model projects 43.463 deaths in the state as of Oct. 26. The high end of the model shows 372.21 deaths while the low end shows 328.902.

The projected number of active cases would be 3,813.6 on Oct. 26.

The model forecasts for longer than two weeks. By the end of the year, South Dakota would have 563.418 deaths and 5,160 current infections.

Under this model, South Dakota would have a projected 384.741 deaths as of Nov. 7. The high end of the model shows 483.537 on Nov. 7 while the long end range shows 354.954.


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