PIERRE — In data released by the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) late Monday, new positive COVID-19 cases have shot up in schools in the state, both at the K-12 level and the college and university level.
The numbers that the DOH released on August 24 showed K-12 schools with 71 total cases, but that number had grown to 195 total cases between students and staff in Monday’s numbers. Those numbers were split between 138 students and 57 staff.
The K-12 schools that had cases were widespread as well, as 94 schools had 1-2 cases. Twenty schools had three or more cases. The DOH did acknowledge in their Monday press briefing that some of the K-12 data this week was incomplete due to issues with reporting from multiple school districts. The reporting issues are being clarified to present more accurate information going forward.
After 11 of the state’s 15 accredited colleges, universities, and technical schools totaled 70 cases through August 24, all 15 now have cases in this week’s reporting, totaling 552 cases, an incredible 789% case explosion in one week’s time.
The cases in the state’s colleges are primarily student-based, with 518 students infected compared to 34 staff members. Only one of the schools has 1-2 cases in the state. Every other institute of higher learning is reporting three or more cases.
The university information is based on students attending the schools, whereas the numbers present in the positive cases reported daily by county are by the residency of the students. That allows for out-of-state students in the college and university system to be counted in the numbers released each Monday for an indication of the infection rates on campus.