In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic is releasing its grip on South Dakota. However, deaths caused by the virus continue to affect the state's residents.
The Department of Health reported only 36 new infections Wednesday, allowing the number of active cases in the state to drop to 300 — down 82 from Monday's report. Hospitalizations also dropped by three to 41 with 15 in ICU and seven on ventilators. Sixteen of those 41 patients are in Black Hills region hospitals with seven in ICU and four on ventilators.
Despite the decreasing numbers of new and active cases, deaths continue at a troubling pace. Five more deaths were reported to raise the state's death toll to 2,019. There were three women and two men whose deaths were reported Wednesday with four over 70 and one in their 30s. Two deaths each were reported in Brown and Minnehaha counties and one in Bon Homme County.
Seven of the positive tests were in children under 19 with 10 more in their 20s. Only three people over 70 tested positive for Wednesday's report.
Pennington County reported seven positive tests and active cases in the county dropped to 50. Oglala-Lakota County reported one new infection and the county's rate of transmission was increased from minimal to moderate. Custer County reported one new case and spread there decreased from substantial to moderate. Meade County reported four new infections and Butte County reported two.
Minnehaha County recorded eight positive tests and Brown County had three. There was one new case each reported in Beadle, Charles Mix, Gregory, Hughes, Lincoln, Miner, Stanley, Sully, Turner and Yankton counties.