SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota Department of Health officials on Wednesday, April 14, urged state residents in their 20s to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as a recent surge of cases appears to be centered on that age group.

Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said younger residents, who recently gained broad access to the COVID-19 vaccine, should think of both themselves and others and sign up for the vaccine, which remains in good supply.

"That's where we're seeing the largest number in total cases in recent weeks. Vaccination can help with that. It can also help with that population that is likely to spread coronavirus to others," she said, "Please, if you're in that age group, get vaccinated, because your health and wellbeing is important, as is the health of others in our state."

South Dakota continues to be a leader in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. According to the latest state tracking, 51% of those eligible to get vaccinated in the state have gotten at least an initial dose. Over 36% are fully vaccinated.

South Dakota is outpacing national first-dose vaccination rates, said State Epidemiologist Joshua Clayton, with 87% of those age 65 and older vaccinated versus 79% nationally, and 53% of those age 18 and older vaccinated in the state versus 47% nationwide.

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But Malsam-Rysdon's comments indicate the state might be nearing an inflection point, where increasingly the state is less worried about vaccine supply, and more worried about convincing those who are hesitant about getting the vaccine.

She said the state is working on outreach strategies for those resistant to the COVID-19 vaccine, including those who need additional information, or more time.

"Those are some of the strategies that we're working on right now and those will be very specific to different populations," she said.

At stake: reaching herd immunity, or when enough people are vaccinated to effectively snuff out easy transmission of the virus. Of particular concern are small and remote areas where too few people get vaccinated, opening potential islands of outbreak for the virus.

Following are the South Dakota Department of Health COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations as of Wednesday, April 14. Because all data is preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 225 (seven-day daily average: 243)
  • TOTAL ACTIVE CASES: 2,391
  • TOTAL CASES: 120,379
  • TOTAL RECOVERED: 116,040

  • DAILY TEST POSITIVITY RATE: 9.6%

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • NEW HOSPITALIZATIONS: 10

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 113

  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 7,168

  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 1

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,948

Vaccinations

  • INITIAL DOSE ADMINISTERED (IF 2-DOSE VACCINE): 290,461, total: 51% of population*

  • FULLY VACCINATED: 217,946, total: 36% 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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