South Dakota leads the region with per capita cases of COVID-19

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota is leading the upper Midwest region in the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases per capita, as cases have dramatically risen in the last few days.

In Minnehaha County alone, where a large outbreak has been discovered at a Smithfield Foods plant, cases are doubling every three days. This prompted South Dakota Secretary of Health Kim Kim Malsam-Rysdon to declare a public health emergency in the county.

According to a KELOLAND News analysis of each department of health’s latest data in the six-state region, which we track daily, South Dakota has 60.6 positive cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people. Compare that to Iowa with 44.0 and Minnesota with 23.7.

Per capita is measured using the population data for each state. When you broaden the scope, however, to the nation’s worst-hit area, New York state, the comparison shows a dramatically different picture.

New York has 876.5 cases per 100,000 residents.

Commuters wear face masks for protection against the coronavirus as they ride the M train, Friday, April 10, 2020, in New York. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

South Dakota remains a state without a stay-at-home order, like Minnesota, and while Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) has encouraged social distancing, she’s largely left it up to the local governments to act. This has created a patchwork of regulations across the state.

Johns Hopkins University announced on Friday the global death toll from the coronavirus has hit 100,000 people. That includes about 18,000 in the United States and six in South Dakota.

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