RAPID CITY, S.D. — There are now 7,000 South Dakotans known to have caught COVID-19, as testing uncovered another 50 cases, the state Department of Health reported Saturday, July 4.

But the rate of new hospitalizations due to the virus, a measure of the severity of the pandemic, continues to slip. Only 54 South Dakotans are in the hospital due to the virus, down four since Friday and the lowest since state health officials started posting that information in late April.

Since the start of the pandemic, 689 state residents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19, or just under 10% of known cases. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients peaked at 106 on May 26.

According to hospitalization data collected by the state Department of Health, COVID-19 patients are using 5% of intensive care unit beds, 2% of all hospital beds and 9% of ventilators — crucial equipment for treating the respiratory illness.

No new COVID-19 fatalities were reported Saturday. The coronavirus death toll in the state stands at 97.

There are 869 South Dakotans who have tested positive for COVID-19 and remain ill, up 37 from the previous day. It's an uptick from previous weeks. The number of active cases has varied between the high 700s and the low 800s in the last two weeks.

Counties with a 14-day upward trend in new cases (minimum 14 cases) include: Brookings, Brown, Brule, Charles Mix, Codington, Lincoln, Pennington and Union. Counties with a 14-day downward trend in new cases include: Beadle, Hughes, Minnehaha, Oglala Lakota and Yankton.

State, hospital and out-of-state private labs processed another 837 COVID-19 tests, for a total of 83,830. The daily positive rate was 6% under the moving state average of 8.3%.

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