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Health Officials Unsure Of Source Causing COVID Case Increase Over The Weekend


The South Dakota Department of Health is reporting nearly 250 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday.

Just over half of those cases come from Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties. Health officials say they aren’t sure where the surge in cases is coming from.

Seven of the nearly 250 cases come from a Black Hills Christian youth summer camp, which is now closed.

But that’s the only cluster health officials are reporting from over the weekend.

State epidemiologist Josh Clayton says the large increase in cases is a concern.

“At this time we have not identified any single exposure or exposures that would be the source of or cause of those illnesses in the jump in cases in those communities,” Clayton says. “We continue to investigate those cases and if there’s anything that does require a public notice or larger awareness that we will be releasing that information via our protocols.”

The Department of Health only issues a public health notice when an employee or patron of a business or event is unable to identify people they were in close contact with while able to transmit the virus.

Dr. Shankaar Kurra is the vice president of Medical Affairs at Monument Health in Rapid City. He says keeping coronavirus numbers down and communities safe comes down to fundamentals.

“Regardless of what the numbers are we need to continue to understand one aspect of this disease—it’s still a long way to go where we reach a level where we can all say that we are safe,” Kurra says. “Continue to do the handwashing, face masking, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene and not touching your face.”

There are 917 active cases of COVID-19, which is an increase of 88 cases from last week. Forty seven people are currently hospitalized, a decrease of 18 from last Monday.

Lee Strubinger is the politics and public policy reporter for SDPB.