PIERRE — The South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) released the new testing numbers for the day in its daily press briefing Thursday morning. The raw number of 36 new positive cases is the largest single-day positive number that the state has seen, and, with 350 completed tests on Wednesday, it’s the first time since the Avera and Sanford labs came online for testing that the state has seen a day where over 10% of tests came back positive. The total numbers for the state rose to 165 overall, with totals now of 57 recovered, 17 hospitalizations, and two deaths.
Locally, Beadle County remains at 21 positive tests and added one more recovered to reach 13 formerly positive cases that have now been deemed recovered. Spink County had their first confirmed case in Wednesday’s testing, and that test was through community spread. Other local counties remained stable in their positive test cases as Clark has seen one positive case. Other local counties have yet to see a positive case in their county.
That could change soon, as Dr. Joshua Clayton, the state’s epidemiologist, related that those who are asymptomatic, that is that they are showing no symptoms but are positive with the virus, could total up to 80% of those who become infected with the COVID-19 virus. The state continues to utilize a potential infection rate of 30% of the state’s population as a baseline projection. Keeping the general math out of things, this will mean that more than 200,000 South Dakotans will be infected with this virus while they are able to live life without showing any symptoms. Dr. Clayton was very clear when asked whether asymptomatic people could still be contagious. “Absolutely!” He exclaimed.
Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon reported that the state laboratory has been running 10-40 tests each day from the highest priority tests. With roughly 300-400 tests being done daily since the Avera and Sanford labs came online, that does mean that the state is currently testing at only half it’s total capacity, allowing for plenty of “ramping up” as the virus begins to peak, per Malsam-Rysdon.