SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Department of Health reported an increase in the number of active cases of COVID-19 in South Dakota Wednesday. This comes amid an overall decline of active cases in the state in recent weeks. Yet, hospitalizations have been on the rise.
Tuesday’s numbers from Sanford Health show 219 hospitalizations, 54 of them are in the ICU and 41 are on ventilators. While the hope is that hospitalizations will go down as active cases also decrease, Sanford Health says we’re not there, yet.
Sanford Health has seen a steady rise of patients in the hospital suffering from COVID-19.
“We actually just hit our highest peak during this surge today. So we have 220 patients in the hospital throughout the Sanford footprint today,” Sanford Health Chief Physician Dr. Jeremy Cauwels said.
Sanford’s Chief Physician Dr. Jeremy Cauwels says the increase in hospitalizations is a lagging indicator of coronavirus cases in the state.
“What we’ve seen consistently throughout the pandemic is that hospitalizations tend to lag approximately 2 weeks after active cases. Interestingly enough, our own internal testing has not started to drop yet, I know statewide, it has,” Cauwels said.
Cauwels says its possible hospitalizations will keep increasing, based on how the active cases have been trending.
“What I’ve seen fairly consistently so far is that we haven’t seen a consistent increase or decrease in the surge over the last 3-ish weeks and so my concern is that the number of hospitalizations will continue to increase and the number of cases overall will continue to remain relatively steady,” Cauwels said.
Hospitalizations are higher in eastern South Dakota than they are in the western part of the state. Cauwels says that’s because western South Dakota saw an earlier initial surge in COVID-19 this year, and that hospitals in the east are starting to catch up.
Cauwels also points out that most patients in Sanford hospitals have not been vaccinated, and the most severe cases involve the unvaccinated.