SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota is readying another large expansion in those allowed to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Next up for access to the COVID-19 vaccine: firefighters and critical infrastructure workers, South Dakota Department of Health officials said Wednesday, March 17.

Those in this high-priority group, dubbed Group 1E, work in water and wastewater, energy, finance, food service, food and agriculture, legal, manufacturing, shelter and housing, transportation and logistics, information technology and communications.

For more specific information on who qualifies in Group 1E, the state Health Department recommends reviewing this federal website: www.cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors.

The state Health Department estimates there are about 227,000 people in Group 1E — about a quarter of the state's population. Those in Group 1E can get vaccinated starting Monday, March 22.

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The group is the final priority group designated by the state before the vaccine is opened to the public at large.

State Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said swifter-than-projected rollout of the vaccine is due to a growing number of places to get the virus and the increasing number of vaccine doses. Referencing President Joe Biden's recently declared goal of opening vaccine access to all U.S. adults by May 1, Malsam-Rysdon said South Dakota is ahead of that schedule.

"Given Gov. Noem's strong leadership, and the work of all of our partners across the state, we feel that our state is ahead of this timeline," said Malsam-Rysdon. "We will continue to move forward and are confident that if the allocations hold up, and increase as projected, that we will be able to see all adults eligible for vaccination before May 1. So that's pretty exciting."

Following are the South Dakota Department of Health COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations as of Wednesday, March 17. Because all data is preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 175 (seven-day daily average: 144)
  • TOTAL ACTIVE CASES: 2,107
  • TOTAL CASES: 114,966
  • TOTAL RECOVERED: 110,944

  • DAILY TEST POSITIVITY RATE: 8.5%

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • NEW HOSPITALIZATIONS: 11

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 68

  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 6,820

  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 3

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,915

Vaccinations

  • INITIAL DOSE ADMINISTERED (if 2-dose vaccine): 198,101, total: 34.8% of population*

  • FULLY VACCINATED: 117,062, total: 20.5% of population

*(Vaccine dose count based on state distribution. Population percentage includes vaccines given to South Dakota residents through federal programs, including IHS and VA)

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