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SD Nursing Homes: 714 Coronavirus Deaths, 27.5% Mortality Rate

An eager reader turns my attention to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Covid-19 Nursing Home Dataset, and I get to spend my waking hour caffeinated by pivot tables and deflated by South Dakota’s grim death toll.

Across the 104 nursing homes reporting data to CMS as of January 24, South Dakota has seen 747 nursing home residents die of coronavirus. That’s 35% of nursing home deaths over the past ten dark months. South Dakota’s nursing homes report 2,716 confirmed covid-19 cases among residents, so even among our most vulnerable senior citizens, the mortality rate for coronavirus has been “only” 27.5%. Don’t worry: if grandma gets coronavirus, there’s less than a 1 in 3 chance that she’ll die. So what’s the big deal? Even if your grandma hasn’t already died, you go right ahead with your stock shows and maskless gatherings….

Six nursing homes report 40 or more confirmed resident cases of coronavirus and more than 40% mortality therefrom:

  1. Walworth County Care Center, Selby: 95% mortality (38/40)
  2. Good Samaritan Society Sioux Falls Village: 85% mortality (34/40)
  3. Good Samaritan Society Canton: 56% mortality (25/45)
  4. Avantara Lake Norden: 45% mortality (18/40)
  5. Tieszen Memorial Home, Marion: 44% mortality (22/50)
  6. Avantara Milbank: 41% mortality (21/51)

Now you may think, “Well, I don’t live or work in a nursing home, so that’s not my problem; I’m going to the bar for karaoke!” But every time you go around town without your mask on, every unnecessary trip you make without taking precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, you increase the chance that other people you meet—the janitor who still has to come clean your office, the folks who are trying to be careful on their once-a-week trip to the grocery store whom you crowd with your cart in the checkout line—will get sick. Your behavior reduces the statistical safety of everyone in the community, thus making it harder for nursing home workers to steer clear of coronavirus.

And if you have the privilege of a public platform, and you use that platform to send  irresponsible and inaccurate information about pandemic safety, you facilitate irresponsible behavior by hundreds and thousands of South Dakotans.

In other words, if you’re out in public without a mask, and if you’re telling the public they don’t need a mask, some those 714 nursing home deaths are your fault.


  1. Fast Eddy 2021-02-09 10:20

    Yes, Kristi has caused substantial turnover in nursing home residents. I noticed the ads saying space is available for new residents. If I were looking for a place for an elderly loved one, I would be asking detailed questions about their mortality rate. State leadership has been a failure for the state’s vulnerable citizens.

  2. leslie 2021-02-09 12:10

    Wow. Every word.

  3. Arlo Blundt 2021-02-09 17:05

    Well….the elderly were expendable. They died to protect our sales tax revenues and to assure continued accessibility to shopping and leisure, while the governor banked the federal Covid relief funds. How tragic it is for their families and for the health care workers who risked their lives to care for the elderly and infirm. Republicans seem oblivious to this human tragedy.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2021-02-09 22:15

    Are we budgeting any of the Covid federal money for Traumatic Stress Disorder counseling and ongoing support for the people working in nursing homes during the pandemic? The impacts of this pandemic are going to continue for years after it finally burns itself through the entire vulnerable population.

  5. Francis Schaffer 2021-02-11 09:31

    I thought it was about personal freedom; unless you are in a nursing home, then you get what you get and don’t throw a fit. Pathetic and involuntary manslaughter.

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