PIERRE – Big news flowed from the weekly press briefing with the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday.
First, the DOH announced that within the first ten days of March, vaccination of those with a single underlying medical condition would qualify for their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Previously, the Phase 1D designation listed persons with two or more underlying medical conditions, but availability of vaccines has allowed for this transition.
A full list of the underlying conditions that qualify is on the DOH’s COVID-19 website at doh.sd.gov/COVID/Vaccine/medicalconditions.
Per the doses reported to DOH, the state has now administered 197,050 doses of vaccine to 130,148 persons statewide, with 66,902 people now reported to have completed the two-shot series of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
While complete reporting is not always available at federal vaccine sites like Indian Health Services and federal-access pharmacies that are distributing the vaccine across the state, the numbers currently received by the state from those partners would indicate that more than 23% of the state has received the first shot of the vaccine and nearly 12% of the state’s population has received the complete two-shot series.
Beadle County crossed the mark of 1,000 people who have now received both shots of the two-shot series in the last week. In all, the county has seen 3,801 doses administered to 2,796 persons. Of those, 1,005 have now completed the two-shot series.
The second big piece of news to come from the DOH press conference regarded this year’s influenza season.
Due to the measures currently being taken by state residents to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the numbers are drastically lower in this year’s influenza season.
The DOH reports that at the same period of the flu season one year ago, 270 people had been hospitalized due to the flu and 12 people had passed away. This year, just seven people have been hospitalized and two people have passed away due to the flu.
When asked if this is due to any changes in causality, state epidemiologist Dr. Josh Clayton reported that those numbers reflected any person with an influenza diagnosis, not a causation.
In Thursday’s COVID-19 numbers, Beadle County did see eight new positive cases after recording the first single-day double-digit day of new positive cases with 11 on Wednesday. The county finished the day with 81 active virus cases.