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Most of 61 who tested positive at Camp Judson are teenagers, DOH says
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Most of 61 who tested positive at Camp Judson are teenagers, DOH says


Six out of 61 campers and staff have recovered from COVID-19 after exposure to the coronavirus at Camp Judson, the Department of Health announced Thursday.

State epidemiologist Joshua Clayton said the cases range from the 5-9 year age group to 40-44 and that 75% of those are “among the teen population.” None have died or been hospitalized, Clayton said.

A full list of campers and staff who were at Camp Judson before it closed includes 328 people, Clayton said. He previously said there were 200 at the camp and that he didn't anticipate that all campers would be considered close contacts to those infected.

Clayton also said Avantara Saint Cloud would no longer be included in the DOH outbreak report because the facility has had “less than five cases in the past week among their staff and residents.” As of Thursday, the facility had seen 54 of 69 staff and residents recover from COVID-19.

Other outbreaks in the DOH’s report included “less than 15” cases at McCrossan Boys Ranch north of Sioux Falls following a mass testing event and “less than 25” cases at Bethel Lutheran Home in Madison, Clayton said.

DOH notification policy

In a statewide call with medical providers, Clayton said the names of businesses and companies with COVID-19 cases or exposure won’t be released to the media unless an employee was in the business while able to transmit the virus. If close contacts can be identified, the DOH contacts each of them so public notice is not needed, he said.

If the employee wasn’t in the business while able to transmit COVID-19, there is no further investigation, he added.

When an individual is in a business while able to transmit COVID-19 and around a large number of individuals they don’t know, the notification process from the DOH to a close contact cannot occur, he said. Then, the DOH will look at issuing a public notice or press release on a specific business, he clarified.

“There are a lot of different considerations that go into making any sort of public disclosure of a business,” Clayton said.

Testing machines arrive

Tim Southern, director of the state’s public health lab, said Abbott ID Now instruments and test kits have been placed in Rapid City, Spearfish, Deadwood, Sturgis, Custer and Hot Springs for the Sturgis Motorcyle Rally.

Malsam-Rysdon said there are approximately 500 EMS providers West River who will be tested for COVID-19 this weekend and next week ahead of the rally, which starts Aug. 7.

Southern said the DOH is working with the state’s public colleges, universities and technical schools to increase access to testing on their campuses.

Patricia Brinkley, assistant administrator for the DOH, said the state will continue mass testing of its long-term care community in the form of antigen testing.

Three facilities in the state will receive the antigen testing equipment and supplies this week, but Brinkley didn’t name the facilities in the call and pointed callers to for more information. Southern said HHS is targeting hotspots for this form of testing.

Southern said the state is assisting federal partners in distribution and allocation of the drug remdesivir to health care facilities in South Dakota. Last week, the state received 10 cases and another four cases are expected next week, he said.

The DOH also said it’s important to remind people of the FDA’s recall of hand sanitizer that contains methanol. Clayton said three people in South Dakota have been reported to the DOH with methanol poisoning after being hospitalized for ingesting or drinking the recalled hand sanitizer, and one died from it.

44 new cases

The state reported 44 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including eight cases in Pennington County. Thursday’s report brought the state to 8,685 total cases since March, with 7,690 recoveries and 866 active cases.

As of Thursday, the state has conducted 136,829 coronavirus tests on 110,345 people. 

908 of those tests were processed between 7 p.m. Tuesday through 1 p.m. Wednesday for Thursday’s report, marking a positive test rate of 4.8%.

Five new people were hospitalized for COVID-19, with 44 people hospitalized across the state on Thursday.

Other counties with new COVID-19 cases include Brookings (1), Brown (5), Brule (1), Clay (1), Davison (1), Dewey (2), Hutchinson (1), Lake (1), Lincoln (2), Meade (1), Mellette (1), Minnehaha (15), Moody (1), Oglala Lakota (1), Pennington (8) and Roberts (2).

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