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DOH now reports 96 cases of COVID-19 from Camp Judson near Keystone
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DOH now reports 96 cases of COVID-19 from Camp Judson near Keystone

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The state health department reported Monday that 93 South Dakota residents and three out-of-state residents have COVID-19 after attending Camp Judson near Keystone before it shut down several weeks ago.

State epidemiologist Joshua Clayton said 328 people had been at the camp altogether, including 43 out-of-state attendees and 285 South Dakotans. 44 of the 93 South Dakota cases have recovered, he said.

Clayton said the average age among the church camp's cases is 15 years old, with individuals as young as 5 to 9 and as old as 70 to 74 becoming infected. Of the South Dakota cases, 59 were women and 34 were men. None have been hospitalized, he said.

77% of the Camp Judson cases in South Dakota residents came from Minnehaha and Lincoln county residents, 9% from Pennington County, 4% from Codington County and 3% from Brown County.

Clayton compared the outbreak at Camp Judson to a camp in Georgia where 44% of the 597 campers later tested positive for COVID-19.

Other cluster updates provided by the DOH included a notification that less than 30 cases of COVID-19 have been found among staff and residents at Bethel Lutheran Home in Madison, and five out of 36 people at McCrossan Boys Ranch have recovered from coronavirus.

School preparations

Kim Malsam-Rysdon, state health secretary, said the DOH and Department of Education have been working together with school superintendents to help them understand CDC guidance and work through back-to-school plans.

“Those plans do differ based on the circumstances of their physical space and their classroom sizes,” she said. “A whole host of factors come into play.”

The DOH has been hosting webinars with superintendents and school nurses to work on plans, and Malsam-Rysdon said the department will have a daily update starting next week with the schools.

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As outbreaks continue to surge among K-12 age groups in instances like Camp Judson and in college populations like athletes at Northern State University, Malsam-Rysdon said the DOH will still work to provide information on clusters and data around cases.

“If we see a number of cases in any one particular school setting, we will be reporting that as we have been,” she said, noting there is a formal communication channel for schools to provide information to the DOH about cases in schools.

When asked if the public should prepare to see increased outbreaks a few days or weeks into the fall semester, Clayton said “when you have a greater number of individuals who are coming into contact with each other that does pose a risk of transmission of COVID-19.”

“That does not have to be an immutable fact. There are things individuals can do to reduce the risk of transmission,” Clayton said, adding that people can wear masks, physically distance and wash their hands.

Clayton also said there’s an epidemiological report forthcoming about how the outbreak occurred at Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls where more than 1,000 cases have been connected to the plant. The report would be published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication of the CDC, he said.

Case updates

The DOH reported 65 new COVID-19 cases in South Dakota on Monday, including 19 in Pennington County.

Monday’s case counts came from 957 tests, for a positive rate of 6.8%.

As of Monday, there are 9,020 total COVID-19 cases in the state with 7,939 recoveries, 946 active cases and 135 deaths. Pennington County has 126 active cases.

39 people were hospitalized across South Dakota on Monday with 13 in Monument Health’s hospital system. 838 people have been hospitalized at some point in the pandemic.

So far, the state has conducted 142,922 tests among 114,648 South Dakota residents.

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