'A joyous day' as South Dakota gets first COVID-19 shipments
Avera Health in Sioux Falls and Monument Health in Rapid City both got thousands of Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, with Sioux Falls-based Sanford Health expecting its shipment on Tuesday.
MITCHELL, S.D. — South Dakota hospitals received the state's first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Dec. 14.
Avera Health in Sioux Falls and Monument Health in Rapid City both got thousands of Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, with Sioux Falls-based Sanford Health is expecting its shipment on Tuesday.
State health officials have said they expect an initial total shipment of 7,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine which will be prioritized for frontline healthcare workers.
"Today is a joyous day," said Dr. David Basel, vice president for clinical quality for Avera Medical Group, in a Monday afternoon Sioux Falls press conference about COVID-19.
Avera Health posted photos to its social media accounts shortly afterward showing the first of the systems health care workers to get the vaccine. Monument Health also planned to begin vaccinations against the virus later on Monday.
State health officials have said they'll first immunize healthcare and long-term care facilities workers who deal directly with COVID-19 patients, followed by long-term care residents. The state is also expecting an initial shipment of 14,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine will is expected to gain federal approval by the end of the week.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna offerings are two-shot vaccines, which means those who get the initial shot will need a second shot taken several weeks later to get fully vaccinated. Federal health officials plan to reserve doses of the vaccines to ensure those who get a first shot will be certain to received a second shot.
The South Dakota Department of Health on Monday, Dec. 14, reported the state’s lowest new COVID-19 case total in more than two months and no new deaths, although testing totals were lower than usual and deaths are rarely reported on Mondays.
Still, the overall trends for the state are positive, with a significantly slowed rate of new cases and an ongoing drop in daily active cases giving an early indication that the state won't see a spike in cases from Thanksgiving gatherings.
The state recorded 316 new cases, the lowest total since Oct. 6, while also reporting no new deaths for the second consecutive Monday. It is the fourth time in five weeks that the DOH has not reported new deaths on a Monday. Of the 1,259 fatalities due to COVID-19, 313 have been reported this month.
Of the 691 people newly tested, 45.7% returned positive, state health officials said Monday. The DOH reported fewer than 1,000 single-day tests for the third time since Oct. 1.
Active cases dropped for the fourth consecutive day, as 12,623 people currently have COVID-19 statewide. Hospitalizations increased slightly, however, with an uptick of 26 people ever hospitalized and 441 people currently hospitalized.
As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status. If this coverage is important to you, please consider supporting local journalism by clicking on the subscribe button in the upper righthand corner of the homepage.