On Thursday, May 7, South Dakota health officials announced an additional two COVID-19 related deaths and 126 new cases.  The state now has recorded 31 deaths.

Officials say it's possible this surge in new cases could be linked to a mass-testing event for Smithfield Foods employees. Dakota News Now reports around 2,500 workers and their families were tested Monday and Tuesday as they prepare to return to work.

With the new spike in cases comes a decrease of current hospitalizations, down two to 70.  Officials remind us that social distancing efforts were designed to prevent hospitals from getting overloaded by COVID-19 cases.

An additional 51 South Dakotans have recovered, pushing the total recoveries to over 2000.  846 cases are active, up 73 from yesterday.

State Epidemiologist Joshua Clayton said the average positive testing rate had been hovering around 10-13 percent. Clayton says positive cases accounted for 18% of the 698 total tests processed on Thursday.

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