SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Both North and South Dakota have the highest rates of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization in the nation per 100,000 people.
In tonight’s edition of COVID-19 Beyond the Numbers, we compare the beginning of October to the end and what has prompted health and community leaders to call for further action.
At the beginning of the month, South Dakota had 3,832 active cases of COVID-19. Today, there are nearly 4 times as many active cases at 13,520.
On October 1, 214 people were in the hospital. By the end of the month, that number had almost doubled to 403.
“We are asking people to double down on doing what they can to help. Our COVID hospitalizations have risen dramatically,” Dr. Benjamin Aaker of the South Dakota State Medical Association said on 10/27 at “Mask Up South Dakota” News conference.
236 deaths had been reported in the state on October 1. On October 30th, 415 people have died.
It’s not just physicians and health systems asking people to mask up, business and community leaders say it’s essential to slow the spread and prevent even more deaths.
“I’m not sure when or why this issue became so dang political. It’s quite ridiculous how political this has become. This is not an R or a D issue, this is a public health issue,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said on 10/19 at news conference.
This week, South Dakota Secretary of Health, Kim Malsam-Rysdon, was optimistic about a vaccine arriving in the state within weeks.
“We expect the vaccine to be allocated by the federal government to the state of South Dakota in the very near future. We’ve been told to be ready for our first shipment in the middle of November,” Malsam-Rysdon said. Malsam-Rysdon said on October 28th.
But when questioned about what’s involved in testing and producing a vaccine and the fact that scientists say it will most likely not be readily available until 2021, Malsam-Rysdon clarified that the state will be ready to begin vaccination with health care workers when they do arrive.
“The federal government has asked states to be ready as of November 15th. We will be ready. If a vaccine shows up on our doorstep that day, it will be getting out to folks immediately,” Malsam-Rysdon said on October 28.
Doctors say we do have a tool that is just as good as a vaccine, should we chose to use it and that’s wearing a mask.
“If I told you I had a vaccine that just came on the market today that was 60 or 70 or even 90-percent effective at preventing COVID, you’d be beating down my door to get it,” Dr. David Basel said on October 20.