COVID Update for Jan. 14, 2022

Yankton County recorded a new death related to COVID-19 Friday, one of 15 reported across South Dakota in the daily update from the Department of Health (DOH).

Meanwhile, active cases continued to rise around the state and in the Yankton area.

Yankton County’s fatality was its 47th overall and third this month.

The state’s pandemic death toll rose to 2,559, of which 73 have been recorded since Jan. 1.

South Dakota saw 2,641 new infections, with active cases reaching another record high at 26,835 (+2,039, an 8% increase). Active cases have risen 222.4% the past two weeks.

Hospitalizations rose by six to 349, the highest level since Dec. 19, 2020. There were 30 new COVID hospitalizations reported Friday.

The seven-day test-positivity rate climbed to 37.2% (+0.4%).

Across the eight South Dakota counties in the Yankton area, 325 new infections were reported, the highest number posted in the Press & Dakotan’s charts.

Yankton County added 68 new cases, along with 18 recoveries. Active cases in the county rose to 629, the highest number since Dec. 11, 2020. (The record for active cases is 664, posted on Dec. 10, 2020.) There was also one new hospitalization reported, the ninth this month. The DOH portal showed Avera Sacred Heart Hospital with eight COVID-19 cases, five of which were in intensive care; the portal reported six COVID cases at the Human Services Center.

Meanwhile, the Yankton County jail is currently dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak affecting a substantial amount of its inmate population.

Yankton County Sheriff Jim Vlahakis told the Press & Dakotan Friday that, out of 80 inmates, 20 have tested positive for COVID.

“So far, none of these cases have required hospitalization,” Vlahakis said. “Prior to the last couple of weeks, we have only had to deal with a small number of cases in the jail since the pandemic started.”

He said that disinfection protocols have been followed throughout the pandemic and that inmates are offered vaccinations if they have not had them already. However, the majority decline.

Fifteen male inmates and five female inmates have tested positive as of Friday.

Vlahakis said the nature of the jail’s layout makes full containment of an outbreak more difficult.

“The difficulty is the ability to isolate as most of the jail pods are not individual rooms but dormitory style housing,” he said.

As for staffing, he said jail employees have not had many issues with COVID-19.

“We have had staff members over the last several months that have been sick with COVID, but it has been sporadic and not effected operations to a large extent,” he said.

Vlahakis said the jail has suspended accepting out-of-county inmates until the current outbreak subsides.

Clay County recorded 63 new infections, the largest one-day rise to date. (The previous high was 57 new cases on Aug. 27, 2020). Active cases rose to 442, another record high. Also, the University of South Dakota’s surge continued, with the school portal posting 129 active cases (113 students, 16 staff), up 19 from Thursday and the largest total since Sept. 6, 2020. There were 135 people in quarantine/isolation (+9), including 17 on campus (+1).

Case reports from other area South Dakota counties included: Bon Homme County, +33; Charles Mix County, +34; Douglas County, +6; Hutchinson County, +35; Turner County, +22; and Union County, +64. For Hutchinson County, it represented its biggest one-day rise during the pandemic.

Also, new hospitalizations were reported in Bon Homme (+2) and Hutchinson (+1) counties.

Late Friday afternoon, Yankton School District reported a big rise in cases, broken out as follows: Yankton High School, 28; Yankton Middle School, 14; Beadle School, 7; Lincoln School, 7; Stewart School, 2; and Webster School, 14. The 72 total cases was a 125% increase from the 32 cases reported last week. Also, there were 15 people who tested positive but had no school exposure.

Here is a list of active cases in the eight area South Dakota counties as of Friday, Jan. 14, with the change from Friday, Jan. 7, in parentheses. (An asterisk denotes an all-time pandemic high):

• Bon Homme County — 273 (+116, +73.7%);

• Charles Mix County — 324* (+144, +80%);

• Clay County — 442* (+196, +79.6%);

• Douglas County — 56 (+17, +43.5%);

• Hutchinson County — 213* (+73, +52.1%);

• Turner County — 217* (+67, +44.6%);

• Union County — 450* (+175, +38.8%);

• Yankton County — 629 (+159, +33.8%).

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