SD tops 7,000 active virus cases for first time

Courtesy photo

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Active cases of the coronavirus on Thursday topped 7,000 for the first time in South Dakota as hospitalizations also reached a new high.

As the virus surges across the state, the Department of Health reported 797 new cases, bringing the number of people with active infections to 7,132.

Health officials also reported one of the highest single-day death tolls of the virus to date —13 new deaths. Roughly halfway through October, the state has already had more deaths from COVID-19 than it has any other month. Health officials reported 81 people died this month, bringing the total number to 304.

The rise in cases has put a new toll on the state’s hospitals, with 304 COVID-19 patients hospitalized. Hospitals are also handling patients who have health needs besides COVID-19. About 32% of hospital beds and 41% of Intensive Care Units statewide remain available.

Meade County reported 15 new cases Thursday and two new deaths.

Lawrence County reported 15 new cases Thursday, and Butte County reported five new cases.

In a sign that the economic woes from the virus may be easing, there were fewer new unemployment claims filed from Oct. 4 to Oct. 10 than in the previous week. The Department of Labor and Regulation reported that it had processed 382 new unemployment claims and 5,389 more people were receiving unemployment benefits on its latest count on Oct. 3.

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