Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > State of South Dakota
Posted: May 1, 2020

The state of South Dakota has begun reporting coronavirus data among racial and ethnic lines.

As of May 1, 2020, 123 Native Americans have contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That accounts for 4.87 percent of the number of total cases, which the South Dakota Department of Health rounds up to 5 percent on its graphics and charts.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Native Americans represent 8.8 percent of the state population. Based solely on the data, they do not account for a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases in South Dakota.

There hasn’t been widespread testing among tribal and urban Indian communities in the state. President Julian Bear Runner of the Oglala Sioux Tribe previously said the local Indian Health Service unit has only had a couple dozen test kits on a reservation with a population of about 20,000.

Since then, the IHS has taken steps to increase testing capacity. But even with the changes, the Oyate Health Center in Rapid City, the second most populous city in the state, has only been given access to 24 test kits per week, an executive said on a Congressional town hall in April.

One of the first three confirmed COVID-19 cases within the IHS was in Yankton County, home to the Yankton Sioux Tribe. The number of cases in the county has since grown to 27, through the state of South Dakota is not breaking individual county down along racial or ethnic lines.

Oglala Lakota County, home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, has had 1 confirmed COVID-19 case. The Red Cloud Indian School, a privately run, religious based institution, confirmed it was an employee. The person has recovered, according to the state.

Todd County, home to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, has 2 confirmed COVID-19 cases, one of which the tribe previously confirmed was a citizen. Both individuals have recovered, according to the state.

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