South Dakota eyes official end of pandemic

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 10:45 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PIERRE, S.D. (KEVN) - With the vaccine widely available to almost everyone, and cases continuing to trend drastically downward, the question is now when will the pandemic officially be considered “over”?

“Our case numbers are at a point where they are very manageable, we have seen great vaccination rates amongst our elderly population,” said South Dakota Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon. “They tend to end up in the hospital more and experience more deaths, so it is especially good news.”

As of Monday, 54% of eligible South Dakotans had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with many more receiving it each day. The number of active cases is the lowest it has been since the pandemic began.

As vaccination numbers have gone up, case numbers have gone down.

“’Herd immunity’ is when we see a level of immunity among the population, ideally through vaccinations,” said Malsam-Rysdon. “We know that gives a stronger immune response than what people get from having had COVID.”

“Our goal is to see at least 70% of the population eligible for the vaccine get it.”

The expectation is that the numbers will only continue to trend in the right direction as more children become eligible for the vaccine. Currently, everyone age twelve and up is eligible, but less is known about when kids younger than that will be eligible given how lengthy testing trials can be.

“You’ve got to wait long enough to actually see real COVID cases,” said Malsam-Rysdon. “Amongst a group, how long that will take is pretty up in the air.”

Even as things continue to return to normal in the state and around the country, health officials are continuing to urge people to take common sense precautions as necessary, get tested if you feel sick, and get vaccinated.

For more information about setting up a vaccine appointment, click here.