- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2020

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota is launching a program to provide counseling and support for people affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Social Services announced Friday.

The program is encouraging people to call 211, a state crisis hotline, if they feel the stress or financial burden from the pandemic. Department of Social Services Secretary Laurie Gill said the program can connect people with counseling or financial assistance.

“Many individuals have been isolated from their families, have lost jobs or their businesses – the pandemic has impacted so many and we want to find a way to support them,” she said in a statement.

The state received a grant of $210,723 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to start the program.

Meanwhile, health officials on Friday reported one more death from COVID-19, along with 56 new cases. The woman who died was over the age of 80 and a Pennington County resident. The state has confirmed a total of 6,535 cases of the virus, but 86% of those have recovered. 88 people have died.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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