By Kelli Bultena
The Coronavirus Pandemic has brought unprecedented changes across the globe. As of May 6, 2020 John Hopkins University and Medicine reports that world-wide there are 3,709,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 259,695 deaths. The United States has 1,210,822 confirmed cases and 71,463 deaths.
In South Dakota, according to the South Dakota Department of Health statewide cases are at 2,779 as of May 6. Of those, 773 are active cases with 1,977 recovered. There have been 29 deaths in South Dakota due to COVID-19.
In Lincoln County over the past eleven days active cases have hovered around the 55 count. May 6 active cases were down to 51, while recovered cases have increased to 119. The number of ever hospitalized cases has grown, from four on April 21, to 16 on May 6. The chart at right shows the active cases in blue and the ever hospitalized in green. The number of new cases in Lincoln County has moved up and down over the last week. The lowest numbers reported being one new case on May 4 and May 5, the highest number of new cases in the last few weeks was reported on April 30 with nine in one day. On May 6, six new cases were added. Lincoln County is still defined as having Substantial Community Spread.
Last week South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem unveiled her “Back to Normal” plan, available online at teaweekly.com. Following that plan, many communities across the state have loosened restrictions on businesses.
At a state Coronavirus briefing May 4, Governor Noem said, “The Back to Normal plan was put out because we had new projections that showed that our hospitalization peak in bed-need would be at 2200, which we have the capacity to handle and take care of folks with excellence, and so that is why we know we can start making some common sense decisions, as far as how we facilitate people having the opportunity to start phasing into a back to normal. But I want to remind everybody that as the state of South Dakota, we still need to physically distance, we still need to protect that vulnerable population. You never once heard me say we were back to normal.”
Governor Noem continued, “You didn’t hear me say that because we can’t afford to go back to normal and the people that think they can, then we will see a spike of infections that will happen two to three weeks from today, and it will be because of the people that didn’t consider the guidance that they were still getting. So we do expect to see more positive cases in the state and we know that, but we also know that now we have the hospital capacity to take care of individuals that will need it, and so that is why that plan was put forward.”
At that same press briefing S.D. Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said, “People could be asymptomatic, that means they don’t feel symptoms and still have the virus in their body and are able to transmit it to others. The incubation period for COVID-19 is expected to be 14 days — that would be how long a person with either asymptomatic or symptomatic could be, perhaps spreading it to other people. A person regardless of their symptoms if they are found to be positive, are advised to stay home, stay away from other people, practice that distancing, obviously so they are not infecting others. The guidance for that actually just changed over the weekend, and so the recommendation now is to stay home for 10 days, and we need to see the last three days of those 10 days for the person to be fever free.”
A CDC screening tool is available at COVID.SD.GOV, which can help recommend when to call your medical provider if you develop symptoms.
State Health officials remind all South Dakotans to:
· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
· Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
· Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.
· Individuals at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, such as older adults and people who have chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease, should take actions to reduce your risk of exposure.
· Create a family plan to prepare for COVID-19 and develop a stay at home kit with food, water, medication, and other necessary items.
For COVID-19 updates visit COVID.SD.GOV or CDC.gov or call 1-800-997-2880.