Pennington County now has 100 positive tests for coronavirus after 16 more were recorded Wednesday. One new death of a 31-year old Pennington County man was also included in the two new deaths reported by the state Thursday morning. The other was from Minnehaha County. A total of 48 people have died in the state due to COVID-19 illnesses.
There were 319 tests completed Wednesday in Pennington County. That is about eight times more than the previous daily average and about 15 percent of the total tests completed overall in the county. It was about a third of the total number of tests performed across South Dakota on Wednesday. In comparison, Minnehaha County had 264 tests completed Wednesday with 13 positive for COVID-19.
State epidemiologist Dr. Josh Clayton said the increase in testing was not part of a mass testing event that the Department of Health was aware of. Instead, he said the growth in positive tests in Pennington County has probably led more people to suspect that they have been infected when symptoms of COVID-19 affect them.
Meade County had one new positive test out of 54 total tests Wednesday. Fall County still has four positive tests and two active cases. Twenty tests were conducted in Fall River County on Wednesday. Custer County still hasn't had a resident test positive for coronavirus. Sixteen negative tests were performed in Custer County on Wednesday. Lawrence County completed 64 negative tests on Wednesday.
Total positive tests in the state increased to 4,250 — up 73 from Wednesday. However, active cases continued to fall as 122 patients were reported to have recovered from the illness, That leaves 1,057 active cases in South Dakota.
New cases Thursday included 12 in Aurora County, 11 in Beadle County and 10 in Brown County. Codington County reported three new cases, Lincoln and Jerauld counties each reported two and Grant, Lyman, Marshall and Union counties each added one new positive test.
The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 illnesses in the state increased by 10 to 91 on Thursday. The state's website where statistics are updated each day now includes more information about hospitalizations. Only 2% of the state's available ventilators are occupied by COVID-19 patients. 22% of the ventilators are in use by patients with other diseases and 76% are available for use. COVID-19 patients are utilizing 9% of the state's intensive care unit beds. About half of the state's ICU beds are in use across the state.
Oglala-Lakota and Aurora counties were both upgraded to mild or moderate community spread Thursday after cases there were found to have been passed in the community and not just with close contacts. Pennington County is listed with substantial spread due to having 100 cases with no specific outbreaks.
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