HURON — The explanation from South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) officials for the low statewide numbers with just 493 total tests related to changing the statewide reporting time this week, but statewide deaths continued to rise at an alarming rate.
DOH numbers indicated four new deaths in the state on Thursday, bringing the state’s overall total to 115, an increase of 17 over seven days. That total indicates that 15% of the entire deaths seen by the state during the COVID-19 pandemic have come in just the last week.
Local testing rates did not follow the statewide trends. Beadle County did not have any additional deaths, had just one new positive test, and did have 26 negative tests reported in a fairly good reporting day for the county. Beadle currently has 39 active COVID-19 cases.
Among Heartland region counties, only Spink County added a positive case, with two new positive cases to bring its total to 16 total positive cases.
DOH officials were questioned multiple times during the press briefing Thursday regarding number discrepancies for Davison, Pennington, and other counties, but DOH staff indicated in one instance that unreleased information would clarify number discrepancies while repeatedly relaying the same number that was in question as if it were fact, without question, to a reporter in another instance.
DOH officials hold their next press briefing Monday at 11:45 a.m. The public can listen to the briefing at SD.net or the South Dakota Public Television mobile app for Android or IOS.