HURON — The South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) reported a significant change in case designation that added notable cases to Beadle County and other counties in the Heartland region on Wednesday and Thursday.
Schools, hospitals, and nursing homes in the state are utilizing antigen testing for COVID-19. Antigen tests test for the presence of proteins of the virus, not the genetic makeup of the virus itself.
The DOH does not consider an antigen test alone to be a “confirmed” case of COVID-19, but the protocol for treatment is the same, so recording a positive antigen test will be recorded as any other confirmed test had been recorded previously. Before Wednesday, the state only recorded antigen tests as a positive test if an individual had a “full” COVID-19 test to accompany the antigen test that also registered positive.
The antigen tests were labeled as “probable” tests on the DOH website, but those probable tests are added in to count as the total positive tests. The state added 1,566 positive tests between Wednesday and Thursday due to the change in counting.
Active cases soared with the new positive cases, despite recovered cases rising significantly as any positive antigen test would be considered recovered as well. The state currently reports 4,674 active virus cases.
South Dakota added 24 new deaths between Wednesday and Thursday, bringing the total deaths in October due to COVID-19 in the state to 49. The state set its high for deaths in a month due to the virus in September with 56, so that number has nearly been surpassed one week into the month.
Beadle County saw positive cases in the county increase by 41 overall, though 23 of those were “confirmed” cases. Overall, the county has 899 total positive cases, with 21 of those probable cases.
The increase in positive cases in the county came with a new death on Wednesday for the county and two new hospitalizations, one announced by DOH on Wednesday and one on Thursday. Beadle has 96 active cases.
The Heartland region saw a large increase in multiple counties. Overall, the seven-county region now totals 1,459 positive cases, 1,229 recovered cases, 16 deaths due to COVID-19, 81 virus-related hospitalizations, and 214 active cases.