We’re coming up on six months since South Dakota started our fight against COVID-19. I’ve worked hard to provide South Dakotans with the best information possible to make the best decisions for themselves, their loved ones, and — in turn — their communities. And that’s something that I couldn’t do alone; it’s been a team effort since day one.
Nearly every state government agency has been involved in our efforts, but our Department of Health has been particularly stellar in the work that they’ve done. I also need to thank our three major healthcare systems: Avera, Monument and Sanford. They’ve gone above and beyond and collaborated in ways I’ve never seen before, and the state is far better off for their efforts.
I’m proud of the work we’ve done together, and I wanted to share with you some stats that demonstrate what we’ve accomplished so far:
• We’ve identified over 10,000 cases of COVID-19 and notified over 30,000 close contacts.
• More than 120,000 people have tested negative for COVID-19.
• Our COVID-19 hotline has responded to over 36,000 calls. In addition, the Department of Health’s call center has received over 9,000 calls.
• The COVID.sd.gov website has received almost 7.3 million unique visits since it was launched on Jan. 27.
• We’ve distributed over 500,000 N-95 respirators and over 1,000,000 surgical masks from the state stockpile to healthcare providers statewide.
• The Department of Health has hosted over 70 webinars for healthcare professionals, long-term care facilities, and laboratories.
• We’ve tested over 18,500 nursing home and assisted living center residents and staff, as well as almost 1,000 residents and staff of congregate living facilities as part of our mass-testing efforts.
• We’ve assisted all 9 tribes in the state in their mass testing efforts.
• The Department of Health and the Department of Education have hosted ten informational sessions for school superintendents and school nurses and have been hosting daily webinars for schools since Aug. 10.
• We’ve provided technical assistance to 195 businesses in the state.
• The Department of Health has conducted 55 hotspot calls with local communities.
• The Department of Health has conducted 152 focused infection control surveys of nursing homes and assisted living centers.
• My office and the Department of Health have hosted over 110 media briefings.
Our fight isn’t over. We will continue to see cases in the months to come. We’ll keep our focus on taking smart steps and exercising personal responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us. As I’ve told you many times, together, we will get through this. Together, we’re proving that we can.