RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — The COVID-19 positivity rate in the Black Hills is on the rise.
Not too long ago, the Monument Health System was reporting a less than 5% positivity rate for COVID-19. Friday, the rate is more than five times higher.
“So positivity rates at 27% is really high. Our goal is to be below 5% which means we are not in community spread,” Emily Leech, Dir. of Lab Services, said.
At its peak, the positivity rate was 44%. And the peak number of COVID-19 hospitalizations was over a hundred.
“Since January, we saw a steady decline through May and then since May we started seeing an increase in positivity rates again,” Leech said.
Dr. Shankar Kurra says the good news is that hospitalizations remain low.
“Today the number of patients in the hospital is 14 and it’s kind of stayed in that low number, 10 or below, for a while. At its peak, we were seeing a hundred patients daily so this is a good indication that vaccines are working,” Dr. Kurra said.
Monument Health urges everyone to take steps to keep their families safe. That includes masking up if you’re in a crowded space, social distancing and getting vaccinated.
“If you’re still hesitant or haven’t had the vaccine or the booster, please go get it. It really helps prevent severe disease. If you are vaccinated or boosted, thank you. And continue to help us keep the numbers down,” Dr. Kurra said.
Monument Health has several drive-thru testing locations throughout the Black Hills. Health officials ask everyone who takes a positive At-Home COVID-19 test, to stay home and quarantine.