With concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant rising nationally, both South Dakota and Nebraska posted increases in infections in their weekly updates Wednesday.
Nebraska also recorded 18 new deaths related to COVID-19, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
The Delta variant is now believed to be the dominant COVID strain in the U.S., health officials said. They note that vaccines are effective in providing a defense against the Delta variant, but breakthrough infections — referring to vaccinated people becoming infected with COVID-19 — are possible. However, health officials have said most of the severe cases, as well as hospitalizations and deaths, are among unvaccinated people.
In South Dakota, the Department of Health (DOH) posted 200 new positive tests Wednesday, an increase from the 113 reported last week. Also, the number of active cases climbed to 290 (+82) and the number of active hospitalizations nearly doubled, jumping from 20 to 38.
One new death was reported in South Dakota, raising the state toll to 2,041. It was not reported in the Yankton area.
Yankton County reported to two positive tests this past week, which are the only two active cases.
Other area South Dakota counties reporting new infections included Charles Mix (+2), Clay (+4), Douglas (+1) and Union (+7) counties.
For the first time since late May, South Dakota’s number of total hospitalizations went up Wednesday, climbing by 11. DOH officials have been auditing past cases and amending the hospitalization number downward as some hospitalizations were determined to be due to non-COVID causes.
In the Yankton area, Charles Mix County recorded one new hospitalization this past week.
In Nebraska, the DHHS, which started posting weekly updates last week after discontinuing all updates on July 1, added 18 deaths after it posted an increase of six last week (which covered the previous two-week period). It raised the state toll to 2,285.
The state also recorded 842 new infections. Last week, it reported 1,112 new infections for the two weeks since July 1.
Active hospitalizations also jumped up, with the DHHS reporting 97 people currently hospitalized Wednesday, up from 78 last week and from 28 on June 30.
In regard to vaccinations, the South Dakota DOH reported 58% of eligible residents have received at least one dose, with 53.58% having completed the regimen. According to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine online portal, about 47% of all residents are vaccinated.
In Nebraska, 49.5% of residents are fully vaccinated, according to the DHHS.