North Dakota sets single-day record for COVID-19 cases; state tops 6,000 active cases


North Dakota’s battle against in the COVID-19 pandemic ramped up Tuesday morning, as the state reported a single-day record for COVID-19 cases statewide, as well as topping 6,000 active cases of COVID-19.

In the state’s daily COVID-19 report, North Dakota officials reported 1,036 new cases of COVID-19, a new record. Tuesday’s statistics equaled a 19.68 percent positivity rate, with 5,579 tests collected on Monday. To date, more than 33,000 North Dakotans have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, North Dakota now has 6,032 active cases, up nearly 200 cases from yesterday’s report.

“We’re a little over 20 percent today, and that is a pretty big increase,” Kirby Kruger, North Dakota Department of Health Director of Disease Control, says. “We were edging towards that ten percent range, and then we made that big jump.”

Kruger says long-term care facilities, those who are symptomatic and close contacts are the three highest priorities for testing.

“A high percentage of close contacts do test positive,” he says.

A majority of North Dakota’s cases are community spread now, whereas earlier in the pandemic, cases were able to be traced to a cluster.

Hospitalizations in the state dropped by eight, to 145.

The three top most-populous counties in North Dakota had case numbers in the triple digits in today’s reporting—Burleigh County reported 219 new cases, Grand Forks County reported 192 and Cass County, 161. Ward County added 81 cases in today’s report.

North Dakota also announced four new deaths, bringing the death toll to 412—two women in their 80s from Cass County, a man in his 70s from Ramsey County and a man in his 60s from Stark County—all with underlying health conditions.

Today’s record-high numbers come less than 24 hours after the cities of Fargo and Minot passed mask mandates.

Kruger says there isn’t one ‘magic answer’ to solving the COVID-19 pandemic.

“None of the things that we do, in and of themselves, are perfect,” he says. “And some of them are better than others. From our perspective, we need to have communities thinking about all of the things we’ve always been talking about – social distancing, wearing the face covering, avoiding the large gatherings and the large crowds, the good hand hygiene, staying home when you’re sick, the good respiratory etiquette – those are all important, and then complying with isolation and quarantine. We still have people that are not interested in complying with those things.”

Contract tracing, which currently is lagging, is not the sole answer either, Kruger says.

“We can’t rely just on one thing,” he says. “We need to do all of these things.”