Shocking new numbers out tonight concerning the COVID-19 death rate in South Dakota.

Monday the city and health professionals updated the public on the latest figures when it comes to the death rate, hospitalizations and active cases.

Even though a COVID-19 vaccine is raising optimism across the country, the coronavirus continues to hit South Dakota hard.

“In the last 7 days South Dakota has had the highest daily reported death rates per 100 thousand population of the United States,” Dr. Michael Elliot of Avera Health said.

Dr. Michael Elliot of Avera Health says South Dakota also ranks second in the country with positive tests and 14th in the country with hospitalizations within the last week.

He says the numbers are trending down, but they are still putting a strain on health care facilities.

The hospitals began vaccinating frontline workers with Pfizers’ COVID-19 vaccine last week.

“In about a three day time span we used every last dose of that vaccine,” Dr. Elliot said.

The two hospitals in Sioux Falls will receive the Moderna vaccine tomorrow.

“We will start giving that tomorrow afternoon and go through the holiday probably a little time for Christmas, but otherwise we are going to try to get that to as many people as rapidly as we can,” Dr. Mike Wilde of Sanford Health said.

Once they finish with frontline workers, the two hospitals will begin vaccinating the elderly and others who are most vulnerable, which they say could be the beginning to the end.

“I think there is hope to concluding this pandemic in the near future,” Dr. Wilde said.

Dr. Elliot says 39% of the people tested, test positive for the virus.