COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations rising ahead of new school year


SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — What a difference a year can make when it comes to COVID-19 in South Dakota. The state has a higher number of both cases and hospitalizations today than at this time one year ago.

Wednesday’s numbers from the Department of Health showed 1,939 active cases of COVID-19 in the state. That’s nearly 800 more cases than the same day one year ago. Wednesday’s hospitalizations are at 105, an increase of nearly forty from a year ago. Doctors say the increase in numbers is cause for concern.

Summer vacation is winding down for 17-year-old Washington senior Nick Levisay who attended this family birthday party at Sertoma Park.

“People are able to go out a lot more and do things I think they were missing last year,” Levisay said.

School got off to a rough start for Levisay last fall when he came down with COVID-19.

“I was out a little over two weeks. Certainly, with school work and that type of thing, it was a little tough. And I also missed some things for activities and such. Definitely, inconvenient. But I also know that certainly for others, it could have been a lot worse,” Levisay said.

Physicians say all families need to take notice with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise as we head into the new school year.

“I think it should be cause for concern, yes. as the numbers have gone up, COVID infections nationwide. For areas that are experiencing a surging, we are seeing more pediatric admissions to the hospital,” Sanford Children’s Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joe Segeleon said.

And more children will be at-risk of COVID-19 once they’re in school.

“This predominant variant that we are now seeing, Delta, is more transmissible, and we have more children getting together and so our infections in children are going up,” Segeleon said.

Dr. Segeleon recommends children wear masks in school and practice good hand-washing hygiene. He also recommends children who are old enough to get vaccinated. Something Levisay plans to do soon.

“I still think that people should definitely try to get out there, be active and try to live their best life and also just try to be smart about it,” Levisay said.

Dr. Segeleon says it’s also important for parents to be familiar with all the COVID-related protocols that are in place at their child’s school and the steps the school will take if cases occur there.

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