(Pierre, SD) — Officials say total deaths in South Dakota reached record levels in the first eleven months of 2020. The South Dakota Department of Health released data yesterday showing that the COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in deaths in the state. South Dakota had an average of just over 69-hundred deaths between January and November from 2010 to 2019. There were more than 88-hundred deaths in the state between January and November of 2020. Officials say another factor leading to higher numbers is increasing death rates among a growing older population.