Newest projections say COVID-19 won’t peak in South Dakota until mid-June


PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota added 22 more positive cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the state’s total to 187 as of Friday morning. However, Gov. Kristi Noem says we are flattening the curve.

She and a group of medical experts shared their projections of what the spread will look like in the coming months. KELOLAND’s Travis Fossing shows you what they’re expecting.

The latest projections say COVID-19 won’t peak in South Dakota until mid-June. Governor Noem says the steps we’ve taken in the last month have cut the number of cases at the peak in half, but the overall number continues to climb.

“30 to 70 percent of our population, realistically, will get this virus, that’s what we need to prepare for,” South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said.

That’s somewhere between 265,000 and 600,000 people.

“About 5,000 hospital beds dedicated to COVID-19. We will also need 1,300 ventilators to take care of the people in our state that need them,” Noem said.

South Dakota currently has 4,400 beds and 525 ventilators. After the virus peaks, the public will play a key role, as mitigation efforts must continue through August.

“What we have to fight this virus is each and every resident. The difference between each resident infecting two other people versus two-and-a-half other people means the difference between the health care systems being able to handle this load or being overwhelmed by this load,” Avera Dr. David Basel said.

“We are getting ready. We’re getting ready every day, with supplies, with upskilling nurses that work in the clinics so that they can begin work in hospital, developing rapid lab tests with a 90-minute turnaround time, so that we can be more and more ready as these cases increase,” Sanford Dr. Allison Suttle said.

State and health leaders also know things will get worse before they get better.

“A lot of people will have mild-to-no symptoms, but there are people that will get very sick, and there are people that will not get better. We are going to do all we can to help every single South Dakotan and their families get through this difficult situation,” Noem said.

With mitigation efforts in place through August, and schools already closed through early May, Noem expects to revisit the topic in the near future.

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