PIERRE, S.D. — COVID-19 has claimed the lives of three more people in South Dakota, raising the virus death toll to 291, as the state set or approached new records indicating the virus' continued spread.

The state’s positive coronavirus case count is now at 30,215, with 6,604 of the cases being active and able to be transmitted to others — an increase in 600 cases from the previous day, doubling the total from three weeks ago and setting a new daily record.

Currently there are 303 South Dakotans hospitalized with COVID-19, a new daily high.

Of the South Dakotans claimed by the COVID-19, one in three of them has died in about the last month.

Of the new deaths reported Wednesday, Oct. 14, two of the deaths were people in 80 and over age range, and the other person was in their 70s. During a media call Wednesday, Department of Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said data trends show an increase in deaths among older populations, with 150 of the deaths being of people who are in the 80 and over age range.

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“It obviously has a much worse outcome the older you are,” Malsam-Rysdon said, adding that the department is now learning how being overweight is also a factor.

State Epidemiologist Josh Clayton provided an update on a COVID-19 cluster at the Women’s Prison in Pierre during the call, noting that 233 out of the 259 positive cases among inmates and staff have recovered.

The state also corrected inaccurate information on their COVID-19 website related to hospitalizations and bed availability in the Sioux Empire region.

Clayton said the Sioux Empire region has 23.9% hospital bed availability rather than yesterday's reported 0.9%.

The incorrect data was the result of the duplication of data for two Sioux Falls hospitals, Clayton said.

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