North Dakota Coronavirus Cases
As of May 29, North Dakota reported 2,520 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Of these, 59 has resulted in death, and 1,882 have recovered. Cass has the majority of cases with 1,661 reported. Grand Forks was second with 331, and Burleigh with 126, was third.
North Dakota Experiences the Second Single-day Surge In COVID-19 Cases
On May 21, the North Dakota Department of Health reported that the state saw 134 new cases of COVID-19 in just one day, and the day before it saw 100, marking two consecutive days of record rises in the virus.
Of the 134 cases reported on may 21, 93 of them were traced to the Fargo area, where about 65% of North Dakotans who have contracted the virus live. Despite Fargo being labeled a hot spot for the virus, there have been no deaths of residents who are under 65 without underlying health conditions. The Department of Health announced that 55% of residents in the county who have contracted the virus have fully recovered
Nine of the 134 cases were connected to nursing home residents and staff in the county as outbreaks in these long-term care facilities proved difficult to handle. Desi Fleming,the director of Fargo Cass Public Health and the Red River COVID-19 Task Force, stated that health officials are taking these outbreaks seriously and devoting much of their energy to vulnerable residents by using increased testing and contact tracing.
“The new local strategy also includes regular testing of nursing home workers and other direct care workers, who are essentially the only linkage between the general public and the vulnerable populations inside the facilities,” said Fleming.
On May 21, a record of over 2,750 test results were released by the state. North Dakota Governor Dough Burgum said that he wants to see more regular testing of vulnerable populations in the state with a focus on long-term care facilities. The goal is to perform at least 4,000 tests per day through to the end of May.
"This could happen at any time in any community in North Dakota. There’s no community that’s immune … and that’s why social distancing is so important. This is not the time to be complacent. We’ve got to be vigilant."
North Dakota state Governor, Doug Burgum.
North Dakota Leads nation in Contact Tracing Methods
North Dakota is leading most states in coronavirus contact tracing using the Care19 app, created by the North Dakota Department of Health, to track the movement of residents and help determine who they may have come into contact with.
State officials have expressed that contact tracing is important in combating the virus and reopening the state safely. In fact, the governor’s eight-step plan for “ND Smart Restart” includes “robust contact tracing.”
“The more that we can apply smart contact tracing, the sooner we can safely open up our economy again,” says Governor Doug Burgum.
Last week, NPR released a report about contact tracing capacity in every state. North Dakota came out on top. With a population of 762,000, North Dakota was the one state to meet the guideline of 30 contact tracers per 100,000 people.
The North Dakota contact tracing administrator Vern Dosch stated that 352 people, including 100 North Dakota State University health professions and emergency management students, and 250 more could be trained in the next few weeks.
"It can take several hours to get through everybody’s contacts if there are several of them," said Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health Director Renae Moch. The work of finding these contacts can take all night at times.
"Just trying to remember everywhere they've been, if they've been to the grocery store, work, child care, different things like that," said Moch.
Moch also stated that thanks to the Care19 app and other contact tracing efforts, the Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health has been able to make contact with more than 100 people who may have interacted with a patient diagnosed with COVID-19.
Trained tracers may interview people who have tested positive for the virus, which can take up to an hour, and walk the patient through their actions of the 14 days. They aim to find contacts who have been within 6 feet of the patient and provide them with guidance on whether they should self-isolate or quarantine.
Gov. Doug Burgum said one of the main goals of contact tracing is speed, and that they aim to call and interview people who have tested positive for the virus no more than four hours after their test results have come in.
"We're managing for capacity, not headcount," said Burgum.
Unemployment claims of week ending on May 9: 3225 Prior week: 4,044
Rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people: 249
North Dakota Sees the Largest Single Day Rise in Coronavirus Cases Yet
Health officials from the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDH) announced that the state saw the largest single-day uptick in coronavirus cases so far from April 14 to April 15.
On April 15, there were 24 reported cases from the previous day. This brought the state total to 365, and more testing must be done to determine why the sudden rise occurred.
Governor Doug Burgum extended the stay-at-home order to make sure non-essential businesses remain closed until at least the end of April to try and slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state.
“We are not far enough down the track to safely lift business closures at this time. This is not lives versus the economy. This is about lives and lives," said Burgum during a briefing at the state Capitol in Bismarck.
Before reopening businesses and lifting the stay-at-home order, the governor made an outline of what actions and resources need to be set in place:
- Robust, widespread rapid testing capacity
- Robust contact tracing and infrastructure
- Targeted, effective quarantine
- Protections for the state’s most vulnerable populations
- Sufficient health care capacity, hospital/ICU beds
- Adequate PPE availability for the health care system and public
- New standard operating procedures for reopening
- Plans for dealing with a resurgence or additional waves of COVID-19.
Early April 15, Burgum and government staff learned that a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Grand Forks had recently had an outbreak of coronavirus cases, with eight employees testing positive. The company has since halted production and stated they would arrange for their over 900 employees to get tested.
The state is doing “robust contact tracing” to figure out others who may have had contact with the eight workers.
“This is a way that we have an opportunity to quickly shut down an outbreak so it doesn’t get into the hundreds like we’ve seen in other locations,” he said.