South Dakota’s top health experts say unvaccinated being hit hard


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The vaccination rate for South Dakota has been hanging at around the 56% mark for weeks. State health officials would like to see that number rise.

In the last report, 168 people with COVID-19 were in South Dakota hospitals, some facing death and others struggling just to breathe. The virus has been adapting, and now the Delta variant is targeting younger people who for one reason or another have not been vaccinated.

Health officials expect the number of people in the hospital to rise even higher. Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rydson says it’s not the trend she wanted to see, especially when we have the tools available to decrease those numbers.

“We’ve got vaccines now we know they are really effective at keeping people out of the hospital and of dying and that’s an encouraging part, but again we are seeing more cases and with cases will come hospitalizations and deaths,” said Malsam-Rysdon.

Tom Hanson: “It looks like a lot of the cases are people who are unvaccinated is that concerning?”

“Absolutely because we can prevent the majority of those cases what we are seeing across the state is that 97 percent of the new cases are among people who are not vaccinated,” said Malsam-Rysdon

The man in charge of tracking viruses in South Dakota says the rising numbers are concerning. State Epidemiologist Josh Clayton says as fall begins we may see an increase in other respiratory illnesses that could become a challenge for our health care systems.

“The combination of Covid 19 cases that we are starting to see increase combined with the number of respiratory infections that we would typically see in the fall can combine to have some negative affects with our people being hospitalized and potential burden there in the health system,” said Clayton.

Both Clayton and Malsam-Rysdon say the vaccines are proven to be safe and effective, and the quickest way out of the pandemic is a shot in the arm.

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