North Dakota's COVID-19 hospitalizations remain high


As of Thursday afternoon, 125 individuals are hospitalized statewide due to COVID-19, while 214 are hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus. Of those nearly 400 hospitalizations, 65 are currently utilizing ICU beds in hospitals across the state. Governor Doug Burgum announced Thursday a change to the state’s dashboard, which has been rolled out, breaking down the state’s data a little more than previously.

Burgum also applauded the work of North Dakota’s Hospital Association.

“We are fortunate to have the North Dakota Hospital Association, who are managing more than 1,800 staffed beds,” he said.

Dr. Michael LeBeau, President of Sanford Health’s Bismarck Region, says North Dakota’s hospitals are “at high capacity” across the state, but that the state is “lucky for the health of our health care system in North Dakota.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has hit each sector of public and private practice differently, LeBeau says the pandemic has served as a significant challenge for those in health care. But, as a plus, he says one of the greatest “byproducts” of the COVID-19 pandemic has been teamwork. LeBeau says health care works have stayed banded together.

“Despite being a rural state, we’ve always figured it out,” he says. “We are going to emerge from this a better health care delivery system, and it is going to start in our rural hospitals.”

LeBeau says health care, following the pandemic, will look different than it did pre-pandemic. But, for now, the health care systems are working on dealing with one of the major effects of the pandemic—a backlog from a deferral of health for two months due to the early parts of the pandemic.

While numbers remain high in hospitals statewide, both LeBeau and Governor Burgum feel confident in the current status of hospitals statewide. When asked about field hospitals, which were recently put together in Wisconsin, Burgum says he feels the state is “a long ways” from building field hospitals in North Dakota.

LeBeau says hospitals are currently re-working their surge plans.

“We think we can increase the numbers dramatically if needed,” he says. “We feel we have the capacity in the state today.”

The best place for patient care? LeBeau puts it simple.

“The best care of patients is under the roof of a hospital,” he says.