Secretary of Health

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.

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.

SDPB

In The Moment … September 9, 2020 Show 898 Hour 1

Kim Malsom Rysdon, South Dakota's Secretary of Health, joins us to talk about contact tracing, COVID-19 here at home, and how the upcoming flu season intersects with the pandemic.

Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health

 

South Dakota Department of Health

The South Dakota Department of Health is organizing mass COVID-19 testing of all nursing home and assisted-living residents and employees. Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says that’s the first of several vulnerable populations the state is targeting over the next several weeks. 

Malsam-Rysdon says the mass testing will start next week with nursing homes and attached assisted living facilities in communities with significant spread of COVID-19. She admits it’s a tall order.

State health officials are reluctant to address questions about the projected death rates for COVID-19. They say infection rates, mitigation efforts, and other factors make it difficult to predict, but they outlined the formula they are using. 

Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says the department’s projections focus on predicting hospital capacity needs, but she notes previous estimates of death rates from COVID-19.

“That ranges from 0.5 to 3 percent of positive cases.”

Cara Hetland / SDPB

Governor Kristi Noem has already issued a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus. But many are waiting for her to declare a public health emergency. 

That distinction is frustrating local leaders—especially after lawmakers defeated a bill that would have granted more specific authorities during a public health emergency. 

A state of emergency gives the governor more flexibility to work with federal partners. It also triggers certain state resources. For instance, the governor declared a state of emergency last year to help responses during major flooding.