This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: The COVID-19 data used in this story is considered “epidemiological death data” as reported by the South Dakota Department of Health.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — More South Dakotans died from COVID-19 in September 2021 compared to the same time frame last year.
That’s despite 55% of the state’s eligible population (age 12 and older) being fully vaccinated compared to 0% in September 2020.
In September, 71 new COVID-19 deaths were reported by the South Dakota Department of Health. There were 56 COVID-19 deaths in September 2020.
The 71 new deaths are the third-highest monthly total this year and the most since February 2021, when 121 new deaths were reported.
Since the pandemic started, the state has recorded more than 70 deaths in a month five times. You can see a month-to-month breakdown of the reported COVID-19 deaths in South Dakota in the graph below.
Of the 71 deaths in September 2021, five were reported in the 30-39 age range. A KELOLAND News analysis of COVID-19 deaths in South Dakota shows that’s the most of any month since the pandemic started. There’s been 32 deaths in the 30-39 age range and none were reported in September 2020.
COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are trending younger across the U.S. The New York Times reported COVID-19 deaths for people under 55 years old had its highest toll of the pandemic in August 2021.
The younger cases, hospitalizations and deaths correlate with what Sanford Dr. Jeremy Cauwels said the Sioux Falls-based health system has been seeing unvaccinated patients.
“If you can compare them to the folks that are coming in (to the hospital) that are vaccinated, they tend to be substantially younger and substantially sicker,” Cauwels said this week. “We’re seeing people that are on average 15 years younger than their vaccinated counterparts.”
The COVID-19 death toll in South Dakota will soon be the 40th largest population by South Dakota towns. KELOLAND’s Bob Mercer says 2,145 COVID-19 deaths is nearing Elk Point’s population of 2,149, which ranks as No. 40 in the state.