Vague and outdated laws regarding the disposition of corpses is causing high stress and expenses for families and funeral directors when a dispute arises. Lawmakers in South Dakota are moving quickly on a bill to clarify so-called "disposition" laws to make the process more clear and ease tension for families and funeral directors.
Finding a nursing home or long-term care provider for sick or elderly South Dakotans is getting harder due to a financial crisis in the industry driven by high costs associated with COVID-19, a labor shortage fueled by low wages and the ongoing fiscal challenges at facilities trying to remain financially viable.
Studies show that high stress during the COVID-19 pandemic has led many Americans to gain weight, and health experts in South Dakota are concerned that adults and children who put on weight may suffer long-term negative physical and mental health outcomes.
A long-range nursing shortage in South Dakota only got worse during the COVID-19 pandemic as more nurses than usual exited the field, left the state or retired early. Now, as the delta variant raises concern over the potential for higher COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, healthcare experts worry patient care could be affected at South Dakota hospitals.
Retail sales of alcohol rose by 21% and retail sales of tobacco rose by 42% in South Dakota in 2020, which experts attribute to stress and isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some addiction programs are already seeing a rise in clients, and experts worry more long-term physical and mental health consequences may result.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a temporary halt to abortions at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls in 2020, reducing the number of abortions that took place at the state's only clinic that performs them. However, data from neighboring states shows that hundreds of pregnant South Dakota women traveled to other states to get the procedures during the pause.
A treatment method that uses medications to reduce cravings for people addicted to opioids is being used more frequently to prevent overdoses and save lives in South Dakota, but addiction experts and law enforcement leaders are trying to reduce barriers that prevent wider use across the state.
Child advocates in South Dakota worry that child abuse cases spiked and were more severe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that a reduction in formal reports of cases may have allowed some child abuse to continue unabated.
SAb Biotherapeutics in northern Sioux Falls is using its breakthrough technology — and a herd of cows — to quickly develop an effective treatment for the COVID-19 disease, which is spreading across the world and the U.S., infecting thousands. The company uses genetically engineered cows to produce human antibodies that fight specific diseases.
Whether due to obesity, diabetes, smoking, a lack of access to health care or mistakes at hospitals, mothers in South Dakota and the United States have far higher rates of death and complications due to childbirth than most industrialized countries, such as Canada and the U.K. Now, a new effort is underway in South Dakota to better understand the causes and to curtail a type of death seen as mostly preventable.
Support Nonprofit Investigative Journalism in South Dakota
South Dakota News Watch is funded by contributions from readers like you. All content is shared, free of charge, with media outlets across the state. To support our public service journalism, please consider making a contribution today.