COVID-19

SDPB News: COVID Update Nov 20

Nov 20, 2020
SDPB

Your South Dakota COVID-19 numbers update for November 20th, 2020.

Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health

SDPB

State officials still have hundreds of millions in federal pandemic relief money for businesses, nonprofits and healthcare providers, and current grant applications would use less than half of it. 


The state received $1.25 billion in federal relief back in March. There’s about $585 million left unspent or unobligated that Gov. Kristi Noem and legislators want to give out as grants.

State of Vermont

South Dakota’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic has produced contrasting results: one of the nation’s best economic recoveries, and one of the nation’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Governor Kristi Noem’s rejection of statewide shelter-in-place orders, business shutdowns and mask mandates has made her a celebrity in the Republican Party. She campaigned for President Trump in 17 states and touted her own record last month in Maine and New Hampshire. 

COVID Numbers Nov 3

Nov 3, 2020
NPR

The state Department of Health reports one-thousand-and- four new South Dakotans have contracted COVID 19. Eight more South Dakotans have died. The latest numbers bring the state’s death toll to 446 individuals. 480 South Dakotans are hospitalized. That’s a sharp increase of 80 people. 

Jackie Hendry

In a normal year, fall is a busy season for Sioux Falls hospitals. This year, they’re struggling under the added weight of COVID-19. 

Local hospital leaders say staff are exhausted and frustrated as they watch many continue business as usual.

As of Monday, more than half of the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are in the Sioux Falls area.  

Chief Medical Officer Mike Elliott with Avera McKennan hospital confirms patients are two to a room in some cases.  

Covid-19 Update

Nov 2, 2020
SDPB

In The Moment … November 2, 2020 Show 933 Hour 2

 The number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations has been consistently climbing in South Dakota. Each week since March we have talked with medical professionals trying to stay on top of what we know today that we didn't know before. Dr. Wendell Hoffman is an infectious disease doctor with Sanford Health and has been a frequent guest on this show regarding Covid 19. 

Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health

DOH: 28 Possible COVID-19 Reinfections in South Dakota

Oct 28, 2020

State health officials say 28 people in the state might be re-infected with COVID-19. State epidemiologist Josh Clayton says these are people who tested positive for the virus a second time at least 90 days after their first infection.

Dr. Clayton says the Department of Health is classifying these as “possible reinfections.” He says the CDC has not given official guidance on confirming a COVID-19 re-infection.

South Dakota Department of Health

South Dakota health officials are preparing to distribute vaccinations for COVID-19 as early as next month.

It’s unclear if any current trials will have a vaccine available by then, but federal authorities are telling states to get ready. 

Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says the vaccine will go out in three phases.

The state’s three major health systems and more than two dozen other organizations are partnering to promote masks as a prevention measure against COVID-19.

The phrase "Mask Up SoDak" is unveiled as South Dakota sets a record for COVID hospitalizations.

Though Symptoms May Persist, COVID-19 Reinfection Rare

Oct 27, 2020

The most recent CDC guidance says people can continue to test positive for COVID-19 up to three months after their initial diagnosis. But so far, those people don’t appear to be re-infected with the virus or contagious to others.

Dr. David Basel is the Vice President of Clinical Quality with Avera Medical Group. He says there have been very few instances of COVID-19 re-infection in the country.

Sasha Achilli/FRONTLINE (PBS)

The same medical society that issued a nationwide call for volunteers to New York in the early days of the pandemic is issuing a similar call for South Dakota.

The Society of Critical Care Medicine is the largest nonprofit medical organization focused on intensive care services. Dr. Lewis Kaplan is president of the society and a professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. He says the group has sent intensive care volunteers all across the country in response to hurricanes and other disasters. This year, the group is responding to COVID-19.

South Dakota Department of Health

North Dakota is asking people to conduct their own contact tracing as the state’s Department of Health is overwhelmed with new COVID-19 cases.

Here in South Dakota, some doctors are giving similar directions as the Department of Health works to track down close contacts.

Seth Tupper/SDPB

Some local healthcare experts say South Dakota isn’t testing enough people for COVID-19. But the state Department of Health does not have plans to increase its official monthly testing goal. 

Dr. Shankar Kurra is Vice President of Medical Affairs at Monument Health. He says healthcare systems use models to anticipate the level of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the coming months, which can help them anticipate staffing needs and other concerns.  

“If we have the right amount of testing, the numbers tend to be more accurate,” he says. 

New South Dakota COVID & Politics Survey

Oct 21, 2020
NPR

In The Moment … October 21, 2020 Show 925 Hour 1

Into the Numbers with Elizabeth Racz

Oct 20, 2020

In The Moment … October 20, 2020 Show 924 Hour 1

Yesterday the state Department of Health reported 567 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. Watching a daily count of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths can numb the mind. But every number tells a story, and the story of the pandemic in South Dakota is not an encouraging one.  Elizabeth Racz Ph.D., is an epidemiologist and public health expert at South Dakota Mines & Technology who teaches in the pre-health and biology program on campus. She returns to In the Moment today to help us further understand those numbers. 

Jackie Hendry

COVID-19 case counts and hospitalization rates in the Sioux Falls area are continuing to rise. Representatives from Sanford and Avera say they need the public’s help to keep them from being overwhelmed.

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken maintains his office will not pursue a mask mandate, but he says the need to slow the spread stretches beyond city limits.

Mayor TenHaken has strong words on the issue of masks:

COVID 19 Update with Dr. Shankar Kurra

Oct 19, 2020
SDPB

In The Moment … October 19, 2020 Show 923 Hour 2

U.S. cases of COVID-19 have increased by nearly 30 percent from two weeks ago. The rate of new infections in South Dakota continues to eclipse that in other states. Now, as the weather cools and we prepare to spend more time indoors, public health officials are warning we may be entering the "darkest days" of the pandemic yet.  Dr. Shankar Kurra is vice president of Medical Affairs at Monument Health and joins us today with the latest.

Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health

covid.sd.gov

South Dakota businesses and nonprofits that have been hurt by the pandemic have a short time to apply for their share of $450 million in government grants.

Congress passed the CARES Act pandemic relief bill in March, and state government got $1.25 billion.

About half of the money went unspent through the spring and summer. Ian Fury, spokesman for Gov. Kristi Noem, said there were reasons for that.

On The Other Hand

Oct 8, 2020
SDPB

In The Moment … October 8, 2020 Show 919 Hour 1

As confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Dakota continue to rise, many people are making tough decisions about staying home, getting tested, and staying isolated from loved ones. Kevin Woster has been living the COVID life after recent exposure to the virus. You can read about his experiences on his blog at sdpb.org/Woster.  

The Impact of COVID on Rural Households

Oct 7, 2020
NPR

In The Moment … October 7, 2020 Show 918 Hour 1

Earlier this week, the South Dakota state legislature met in special session to decide how to spend millions of dollars in CARES Act funding. One of the challenges: How to meet the needs of rural South Dakotans during the pandemic. A new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reveals more about the challenges facing rural Americans during the pandemic. Dr. Mary Gorski is with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She joins us with details.   

City of Sioux Falls

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in and around Sioux Falls. Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties make up 25% of the state’s total active cases.

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken is not pursuing a city-wide mask mandate, but he is encouraging businesses and individuals to double-down on COVID-19 prevention measures.

Mayor TenHaken says all 1,300 city employees are now required to wear masks in an effort to prevent spreading the coronavirus. As for a city-wide mandate:

“You will not see my administration mandating any mask-wearing requirements at this time.”

Avera VP of Clinical Quality on COVID-19 Response

Oct 1, 2020
NPR

Dr. David Basel is Vice President of Clinical Quality with Avera Medical Group. He talked with SDPB's Jackie Hendry about the system's COVID-19 response and addressed concerns about hospital capacity. 

This interview was recorded on Monday 9/28/20.

  Jackie Hendry:

Sanford Chief Medical Officer on COVID-19 Response

Oct 1, 2020

Dr. Mike Wilde is Chief Medical Officer with Sanford Health. He spoke with SDPB's Jackie Hendry about the system's ongoing COVID-19 response and addressed concerns about hospital capacity. 

This interview was recorded on Monday 9/28/20.

Jackie Hendry:

Avera and Sanford Respond to Capacity Concerns

Sep 28, 2020

Local health providers say individual hospital capacity is not the best metric for gauging responses to COVID-19. After reports of deferred patients spread on social media, leaders from both Avera and Sanford say their surge plans are adequate and they have enough staff. But there are ways the public can help. 

There’s a simple reason Sanford and Avera are not publicly releasing their daily hospital capacity: to reduce confusion.

Dr. David Basel is the Vice President of Clinical Quality for Avera Medical Group.

Covid 19 Update: Dr. Shankar Kurra

Sep 28, 2020
SDPB

In The Moment … September 28, 2020 Show 911 Hour 1

 Active cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the state. Hospitalizations rose as well, and with that, social media rumors have also taken new flight. Since the first cases of the contagion were confirmed in South Dakota, SDPB has brought you weekly, and often daily, updates on what we know about the virus and how to keep yourself and your family safe.  Dr. Shankar Kurra, M.D. is Vice President of Medical Affairs at Monument Health. He joins us today to share the science behind the pandemic. 

SDPB News: Sep 25 COVID Numbers

Sep 25, 2020
SDPB

Your South Dakota COVID-19 numbers update for September 25th, 2020.

South Dakota Department of Health

South Dakota is seeing its highest COVID-19 hospitalization numbers so far. While state health officials insist there’s plenty of capacity statewide, some patients are being diverted hours away from home—and even out of state.

John Bjorkman lives in De Smet. He tested positive for COVID-19 last week and ended up in the hospital on Sunday. There, he took a turn for the worse.

“[I was] really working hard for every breath I could get," he says. "So on Tuesday morning, the nurse practitioner called Sioux Falls and visited with them, and they had no beds available.”

Josh Haiar / SDPB

Government payments to unemployed South Dakotans during the pandemic have surpassed $300 million.

That’s happened in just the past six months. South Dakota Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman said it’s a historic figure.

“To put that in perspective, that $300 million is more than we’ve paid out in the last decade in benefits," Hultman told the state's Workforce Development Council on Wednesday.

SDPB News: Sep 24 COVID Numbers

Sep 24, 2020
SDPB

Your South Dakota COVID-19 numbers update for September 24th, 2020.

BOR Enrollment Down, Retention Up for Fall 2020

Sep 23, 2020
South Dakota Board of Regents

Fall enrollment is down in the state’s public university system for a third year in a row, but Board of Regents leadership says it’s not all bad news.

The fall 2020 headcount for the state’s six public universities is down 2.8%. That’s a loss of 954 students system-wide from last year’s enrollment. It’s not the worst drop in recent memory, but the decrease continues a trend that started in 2018.

BOR executive director Brian Maher says there is some good news: 2019’s first-year students came back this fall at a higher rate than previous years.

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