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South Dakota reports 7 virus deaths, hospitalizations climb

South Dakota reports 7 virus deaths, hospitalizations climb

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota reported seven more deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, along with an increase in hospitalizations by 25 people.

October has been the deadliest month of the pandemic in the state, with the Department of Health reporting 107 deaths so far. A total of 330 South Dakotans have died from COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic.

Gov. Kristi Noem has said her focus is on hospitalizations, offering assurances that the state's hospitals are still capable of caring for people with severe cases of the virus. But hospitalizations have reached a new high at 329 people. Health officials reported that about 40% of general-care hospital beds and 33% of Intensive Care Units are available, along with staff to operate them.

The Department of Health reported that 621 more people have coronavirus infections, bringing the number of active infections to 8,441. Over the past two weeks, the rolling average of daily new cases has increased by 293 cases, leading health experts and local officials to step up their pleas to wear masks and avoid gatherings.

South Dakota currently ranks second in the country for new cases per capita over the last two weeks. There were 1,047 new cases per 100,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins.

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