South Dakota saw another new record for active COVID-19 cases in Wednesday’s update from the Department of Health (DOH).

Meanwhile, Clay County reached a record high in active COVID cases.

Statewide, active cases rose to 22,753 (+2,268), the second straight day the number has ever been above 20,000. Active cases have risen 173% since the start of the New Year.

It’s a sign of the continuing strength of the current COVID surge, which the DOH said is being fueled by the highly transmissible omicron variant. South Dakota recorded 2,708 new infections Wednesday and has averaged more than 2,300 new cases per reporting day since Jan. 3.

Six new deaths were reported, raising the state COVID toll to 2,534. No new deaths were recorded in the Yankton area.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Forum News Service reported that one of the fatalities was a child under age 10, the first known COVID-19 death of a child in South Dakota. No other information was provided by the DOH.

Forum added that 12,279 children below age 10 have tested positive for COVID-19 in South Dakota.

Current hospitalizations jumped to 336 (+21), the highest level since Dec. 23, 2020. There were 27 new hospitalizations reported.

The state’s seven-day test-positivity rate rose to 35.7% (+2.4%).

In Clay County, 50 new infections were reported for the second straight day, with active cases jumping to 353, which is a record high. Meanwhile, the University of South Dakota online portal showed 91 active cases (80 students, 11 staff), an increase of nearly 38% from Tuesday. There were 104 people listed in quarantine/isolation, the first time it’s surpassed 100 since Nov. 25, 2020, which was the final day before the prolonged holiday break that year. Eleven of those reported in quarantine/isolation Wednesday were on campus (+1).

Yankton County recorded 71 new cases, marking the 20th straight reporting day (dating back to Dec. 13) the county has recorded double-digit increases in cases. Eleven new recoveries were posted, with active cases rising to 559, the highest level in exactly 13 months. One new hospitalization was reported. The DOH online portal showed Avera Sacred Heart Hospital with six COVID patients, four of whom were in intensive care. (The DOH portal no longer lists a category for patients on ventilators.) The portal also showed the Human Services Center with five patients hospitalized with COVID.

Case reports from other area South Dakota counties included: Bon Homme County, +15; Charles Mix County, +26; Douglas County, +8; Hutchinson County, +16; Turner County, +22; and Union County, +58.

New hospitalizations were also reported in Bon Homme (+1) and Hutchinson (+1) counties.

Also, the South Dakota Department of Corrections’ weekly update showed Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield with 31 active cases (22 inmates, 9 staff).

Late Wednesday, Mount Marty University reported four active cases (all staff), up one from Tuesday. Spring classes at MMU do not begin until next week.

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