NEW: Delta variant of COVID-19 detected in South Dakota

June 30, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Health (SD-DOH) can confirm that the B.1.617.2 variant (the ‘Delta variant”) of COVID-19 has been detected in South Dakota. The findings were verified by an out-of-state laboratory, and while only one case of the variant has been identified in Edmunds County, it is safe to assume other cases across the state may exist.

“We are closely following this development and would like to reiterate, to all South Dakotans, the importance of getting tested and vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health. “With easier access to the vaccine and testing, it has never been easier to protect yourself, your family and our communities.”

Concerns of the ‘Delta’ variant appearing in the Great Plains region are that it is more easily spread from person-to-person, reduces the effectiveness of existing treatments, and reduces the protection of the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s important to highlight that currently available vaccines have so far proven 100% effective against hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

“While COVID-19 case counts remain at an all-time low since the beginning of the pandemic, virus variants remain a threat diminished by increased vaccinations,” added Malsam-Rysdon.

The ‘Delta’ variant was first detected in India in late 2020 and was first detected in the United States in March 2021.