RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Two weeks after the Christmas holiday, some South Dakota communities are seeing a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Shankar Kurrah, with Monument Health, says South Dakota has seen a 13 percent increase in new COVID-19 cases in the last week. He says Pennington County also saw an 18 percent positivity rate.
“Those two numbers should tell you that there has been an increase since Christmas, probably from gathering at Christmas. What we won’t know is if this is going to be an upward climb, the trend… Or if it’s just a blip,” Dr. Kurrah said.
However, the number of hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients has decreased at the hospital. During the month of November, the hospital was seeing about a hundred COVID-19 patients. During the month of December that number was cut in half. And now the hospital is seeing about 30 patients.
“Hospitalizations are a reflection of the community wide outbreak, fortunately for us in West River we have seen a downward decline from the highs we saw a couple of months ago so it’s a great downward trend,” Dr. Kurrah said.
While the vaccines are making their way to communities across South Dakota, Dr. Kurrah wants to remind people to continue to take health precautions.
“We’re doing a lot of good things, West River folks here and in the state, people are very concerned and doing the right thing, wearing their masks, keeping their distance, not gathering in crowds. A few folks may not be and that’s why we are seeing this little blip,” Dr. Kurrah said.
The Vice President of Medical Affairs for says that in the next few months into spring and summer, Monument Health hopes to have a majority of the public vaccinated.