S.D. administers more than 8,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in 24 hours, health officials say they’re ready to handle more

KELOLAND.com Original

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota hit a new daily record with more than 8,000 people receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week. 

In Wednesday’s media briefing, officials with the South Dakota Department of Health announced the state administered more than 8,400 doses on Friday, Feb. 18. 

“We could definitely handle more vaccines if we got it,” said Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon, who added the state doesn’t have a daily dose benchmark set for vaccine distribution but expects the week’s supply of doses are used. 

“We were ready as soon as we got it and we got shots in arms,” she said.    

Officials also announced the state is expecting another slight increase in allocation to 18,830 doses, up from 17,660 from this week. Those numbers don’t include federal vaccines administered by Indian Health Service, Veterans Affairs and the federal pharmacy program. 

The DOH is now compiling vaccine data from federal entities for the percent of the state population with at least one dose of the vaccine. When adding the federal vaccine numbers, the DOH estimates 22% of South Dakota’s population has received at least one dose. 

The state remains in Phase 1D of the vaccination plan, with people 65 years and older qualifying for the vaccine. Malsam-Rysdon said the next group of people for Phase 1D will be those people under 65 years old with one underlying health condition. She expects that process to start no later than March 8. Following that group, teachers and other school/college staff will qualify.  

The list of underlying medical conditions include asthma, cancer, kidney disease, diabetes (type 1 and type 2), heart conditions, hypertension, liver disease, pregnancy and severe obesity. You can see a full list on the DOH website.

South Dakota still seeing 1,100 COVID-19 cases per week 

After two full months of declining COVID-19 cases, South Dakota saw a 17% increase in new cases last week. This week, the increase was only 2% but state epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton said that means the state is seeing about 1,100 new cases each week. 

“COVID is still very present in the state,” Dr. Clayton said. “There’s still a lot of precautions people need to take.” 

Dr. Clayton said he’d like to see another decrease in new COVID-19 cases next week and if they aren’t more messaging will be needed. 

State health officials also announced they’ll start holding bi-weekly media briefings instead of weekly briefings starting in March. The briefings will be March 3, 17 and 31 at 11:30 a.m.  

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