Rural Midwest hospitals struggling to handle virus surge

October 19, 2020

WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) – Rural Jerauld County in South Dakota didn’t see a single case of the coronavirus for more than two months stretching from June to August.

But in the last two weeks, its rate of new cases per person soared to one of the highest in the nation.

As the brunt of the virus has blown into the Upper Midwest and northern Plains, the severity of the virus outbreak in rural communities has come into focus.

Doctors in small towns worry that infections may overwhelm tight-knit communities with limited medical resources. But many say they are still running up against attitudes on wearing masks that have hardened along political lines.