SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota Health Department has reported more than 2,000 positive COVID-19 tests already this week.

More than 12,000 South Dakotans have active cases.

The Omicron virus is highly contagious, so experts say we can expect to see more long lines at testing sites, and more people will test positive.

Rather than getting overwhelmed by the increase in cases, experts say the number we should really be watching hospitalizations.

The latest report says 287 people with COVID-19 were in South Dakota hospitals.

To give you some perspective, it’s the most coronavirus patients hospitals have seen in more than a year.
But it’s less than half as many patients as the state saw when cases peaked in November of 2020.

The state website says a majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are in the Sioux Falls area.

At last report, Sanford USD Medical Center had 111 coronavirus patients. 29 were in the ICU. Avera McKennan Hospital is treating 56 coronavirus patients. 22 of those patients are in the ICU.