Special Report

COVID-19: Sioux Falls, SD Metro Area Among the Most Dangerous in America

The U.S. reported over 817,000 new cases of coronavirus over the seven days ending September 28, bringing the total count to more than 42.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 683,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise, albeit at a slowing rate. In the past week, there were an average of 39.7 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — a decrease from the week prior, when there were an average of 47.3 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While new data shows that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high in almost every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks and superspreader events. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between different neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

The Sioux Falls, SD metro area consists of Minnehaha County, Lincoln County, Turner County, and one other county. As of September 28, there were 18,120.1 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Sioux Falls residents, the 22nd highest rate of all 383 metro areas with available data. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 13,207.9 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

The incidence of coronavirus cases depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Sioux Falls metro area, Minnehaha County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of September 28, there were 18,657.6 cases per 100,000 residents in Minnehaha County, the most of any county in Sioux Falls, and far greater than the county with the lowest incidence. In Turner County, there were 15,494.0 cases per 100,000 residents — the least of any county in Sioux Falls.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In the Sioux Falls metro area, unemployment peaked at 10.7% in April 2020. As of May 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 2.7%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Sioux Falls, SD metro area compares to the rest of the country, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked metro areas based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in South Dakota where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

FIPS MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of September 28 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of September 28 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of September 28 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of September 28 per 100,000 residents
43620 Sioux Falls, SD 259,348 46,994 18,120.1 540 208.2
39660 Rapid City, SD 138,402 22,606 16,333.6 270 195.1