South Dakota says it’s managing COVID-19 patients, for now


ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise again in South Dakota, although hospital officials say they’re still holding their own on capacity.

The western part of the state is seeing the biggest spike in numbers, though cases in northeastern South Dakota are also on the rise. The South Dakota Department of Health on Friday reported 230 hospitalizations due to the coronavirus, the highest number since January.

Information released by Sanford Health, the state’s largest hospital system, shows that as of Tuesday, there were 136 patients hospitalized throughout its network of 22 hospitals in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. Of those people, 37 were in the intensive care and 19 were on ventilators. All but seven of those patients were unvaccinated.

Other hospitals are also seeing similar trends. According to Avera media relations, Avera hospitals admitted 100 COVID-19 patients in August and 87 were unvaccinated, the Aberdeen American News reported.

Sanford Aberdeen Executive Director Ashley Erickson said the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is increasing locally, but the hospital is ready.

Avera St. Luke’s President and CEO Todd Forkel said while the hospital is “at our near capacity many days,” no changes have been made to routine services because of COVID-19 cases. He said they still have the option to “slow” elective surgeries.

“We haven’t had to go very deep yet,” he said.



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