SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The ranks of South Dakotans known to be sick with COVID-19 is thinning to numbers not seen since late April, when the state Department of Health first started posting the data.

There are 809 South Dakota residents currently known to have COVID-19, according to the Department of Health on Saturday, June 20, up eight from the previous day. But the key metric of determining the pandemic's intensity in the state is down significantly from its high of 1,393 on May 11, and at the low end of the 800-900 daily active cases tracked in late April.

The Department of Health on Saturday said testing had revealed another 67 cases of the virus among state residents, for an all-time total of 6,225. Another 59 South Dakotans have recovered from the sickness, raising the recovery total to 5,335, or 86% of all known cases.

No new fatalities due to COVID-19 were reported Saturday. There are 81 South Dakotans who are known to have died from the virus, and the death rose by six people over the past week.

State, hospital and out-of-state private labs processed an additional 722 tests, the Department of Health said Saturday, raising the total tested to 71,915. Of those newly processed tests, 9.3% tested positive, slightly above the state's moving average of 8.7%.

Statewide daily testing totals have slipped since the state completed mass testing of residents and staff of the state senior care and assisted living facilities over the past month.

Statewide case decline masks some local surges

While the overall COVID-19 picture in South Dakota appears stable with new cases declining overall, the statewide data can mask localized surges of cases.

While three out of five COVID-19 cases in the state have been found in the Sioux Falls area of Minnehaha and Lincoln counties, case counts in the state's largest city remain low, rarely rising above 20 new cases a day in the past month, although both counties show a rising trend of cases over the past 14 days.

Other counties that also show an upswing in new cases over the past 14 days, according to the state Department of Health COVID-19 data dashboard include: Brookings, Brown, Hughes and Pennington counties.

There are 91 South Dakotans in the hospital due to COVID-19, down four from Friday and raising the all-time total of hospitalizations to 598 state residents.

The state's health systems appear to have the pandemic well in hand, since daily hospitalizations have never exceeded 106. According to the state Department of Health, COVID-19 patients are filling 5% of intensive care unit beds and 4% of total hospital beds, as well as using 6% of available ventilators — crucial medical equipment for helping patients survive the respiratory disease.

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.