Travel, gathering risky business in South Dakota, according to two assessment tools

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The more people who gather for an event such as Thanksgiving, the greater the risk one of the attendees has the coronavirus, according to a tool developed by Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech.

The tool is called the COVID-19 Event Risk Planning Tool. It allows the user to determine the risk of an upcoming gathering based on the number of people attending, the location of the event and the level of community spread in the community.

“The risk level is the estimated chance (0-100%) that at least 1 COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event in a county, given the size of the event,” the Georgia Tech tool website said.

If 10 people from Minnehaha County gather in Minnehaha County, there’s a 58% chance that someone has COVID-19. Add five more people and chance of someone having COVID-19 increases to 72%. The risk level increases to 88% if 25 people gather.

If one of those 10 people is from Harding County which is one of the lowest risk rates in the state, then the rate is 18% to 54% that someone has COVID-19. If one of the 10 was from Dewey County, the rates increase 54% to 85% because Dewey County’s risk rate is 85%

If one person has COVID-19 it doesn’t mean everyone at the event will get the virus.

One person can transmit the coronavirus to several people, according to various studies. Early on, researches calculated the RO or reproduction at 2 to 2.5 for one person. Meaning that one person on average could transmits the virus to two and 2 1/2 people. A July study showed the median RO at 5.7. That means a person with COVID-19 could transmit it to The 5.7 means that one person with COVID-19 can potentially transmit the coronavirus to 5 to 6 people.

At a gathering of 10 in Pipestone County, Minnesota, there would be a 46% chance that someone has the coronavirus. In Lyon County, Iowa, the risk factor is 42%.

When the number of people at an event is increased to 100 people in Minnehaha County, there is a 99% chance someone will have COVID-19.

The risk rate at 10 people from Erie County, New York, who gather for an event is 18%, according to the Georgia Tech tool. Buffalo, New York, is in Erie County.

Statistica said on its website Nov. 16, the state with the highest rate of COVID-19 cases was North Dakota, followed by South Dakota and Iowa.

Statistica also reported that South Dakota’s death rate was 76 per 100,000 people. The rate was 97 in North Dakota, Iowa’s was 63 and Minnesota’s was 53.

Meanwhile, Forbes Magazine published on Nov. 14 that South Dakota was No. 1 riskiest state for travel in the U.S. because of its COVID-19 rates. Forbes cited the lack of a mask mandate and statewide mask mandate and the 154.5 new daily cases per 100,000 people as a seven day average and the high percent positive rate as factors for evaluating the risk.

South Dakota is followed by North Dakota, a state where the governor announced a mask mandate on Sunday, Nov. 15, and Iowa, to round out the top three.

Forbes used numbers from the Harvard-Brown Risk Assessment tool. Iowa has 164 cases per 100,000 on a rolling seven day average. North Dakota has 181 per 100,000.

In comparison to a much more populous state, New York had 22.7 cases per 100,000, according to the Harvard-Brown Risk Assessment tool. According to Statistica, the state had 175 deaths per 100,000 people on Nov. 16.

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