There are now 794 North Dakotans known to be infected with the virus, down 20 from Monday’s pandemic-high number of active cases.
North Dakota has seen COVID-19 infections surge over the last month, with active cases more than tripling in the state, but unlike Florida, Texas and other major virus hot spots, North Dakota is among the top states in testing per capita and the rate of positive tests has not rocketed upwards.
About 2.2% of the 3,739 test results announced Tuesday came back positive, but more than half of the tests were performed on those who had previously been tested for the illness. Johns Hopkins University, which calculates the rate of positives using only those tested for the first time, found that an average of 5.7% of North Dakotans tested in the last week came back positive. The state does not regularly report a seven-day rolling average for positivity rate.
Department spokeswoman Nicole Peske told Forum News Service the agency does not have “a simple way at all” to provide the exact daily positivity rate for those being tested for the first time, even though Gov. Doug Burgum said at a press conference earlier this month that the state keeps track of the metric.
Burgum said at the press conference he did not think the state was artificially lowering the positivity rate by including test results from residents being retested.
The department also announced Tuesday that a Cass County woman in her 90s has died from the illness. Like nearly every North Dakotan that has succumbed to the illness, the department reports that the woman had underlying health conditions.
The department says 94 North Dakotans have died from the illness, including 74 residents of Cass County, which includes Fargo and West Fargo. Sixty-four of the deaths have come in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
There are still four deaths that remain in a “presumed positive” category, which means a medical professional determined that COVID-19 was a cause of death but the person was not tested for the illness while he or she was alive.
Fifteen of the new cases came from Grand Forks County, which has seen nearly 65 new infections announced in the last three days. The county now has 99 known active cases.
Another 15 of the new cases came from Burleigh County, which encompasses Bismarck. The county that has experienced a consistent rise in infections over the last month once again has the most active cases in the state with 162.
Ten of the new cases came from Cass County, which surpassed Burleigh County in known active cases Monday, but now has fewer at 147.
Nine new cases came from Williams County, which encompasses Williston. The county has seen a dramatic increase in cases over the last two weeks after largely avoiding the worst of the pandemic for more than three months. The county now has 83 known active cases.
The other 33 new cases came from 16 different counties.
Forty-six residents are hospitalized with the illness, down one from Monday. Burgum has frequently stated that North Dakota’s hospital capacity has never been challenged during the pandemic.
Burgum said the state has the capacity to perform at least 5,000 tests per day, and he has urged residents to seek testing whether they have symptoms or not. The state has put on free mass testing events in the state’s biggest metro areas for more than a month.
A total of 5,207 North Dakota residents have tested positive, but 4,319 recovered.
The state has announced the results of 266,690 tests, but many residents have been tested more than once.
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