South Dakota surpasses 700 virus deaths

Courtesy photo

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — South Dakota surpassed 700 virus deaths on Thursday as the state suffers through one of the worst virus surges in the nation.

Health officials reported 31 deaths from COVID-19, marking the second-highest daily tally of deaths since the pandemic began. The state currently has the country’s 17th highest number of deaths per capita, according to Johns Hopkins researchers. But in the past 30 days, South Dakota has reported the nation’s second-worst rate of deaths per capita. A total of 705 people have died.

The Department of Health also reported 1,071 new coronavirus cases. The state has the nation’s second-highest rate of new cases per capita over the last two weeks, with 2,140 new cases per 100,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins researchers. Roughly one out of every 47 people has tested positive in the last two weeks.

Health officials reported that nearly 2,400 people are no longer infectious, bringing the state’s active case count to 17,884.

Lawrence County reported 32 new cases Thursday.

Meade County recorded 12 new cases and one death.

And Butte County recorded five new cases on Thursday.

The state Department of Health noted that 25% of hospital beds are available in the Black Hills region which consists of the bulk of Western South Dakota.

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