This story has been updated to reflect the delta variant's confirmed presence in South Dakota.

Simplified: The South Dakota Department of Health confirmed earlier this week that the delta variant has made it to the state. Here's why it matters and what you can do to prevent further spread of the virus.

Why it matters

  • The delta variant is shown to spread more easily and has a higher rate of hospitalization, said Dr. Kevin Post, chief medical officer for Avera Medical Group.
  • It's been confirmed in South Dakota as of June 30.
  • Vaccines protect against this and other variants, doctors say, and they're urging folks to consider getting a vaccine to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and future variants.
The more people that receive the vaccine, the sooner we can put a stop to additional strains of the virus surfacing in our community," said Dr. Mike Wilde, vice president medical officer at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls.

What else do I need to know?

The primary message from both hospital systems is: Get vaccinated.

  • Early data shows vaccines are 88 percent effective against the delta variant, and vaccinated folks are five times less likely to be hospitalized, Post said.
“With easier access to the vaccine and testing, it has never been easier to protect yourself, your family, and our communities," Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said in a news release.

Whether you're vaccinated or not, providers say to use good judgement with hand washing, distancing and staying home if you feel sick.

"Live prudently, and use good discretion," Post said.