BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health on Thursday, Sept. 23, reported 631 new COVID-19 cases and nearly 3,500 active positives.

The state is experiencing a fall surge in COVID-19 cases, which is largely fueled by the delta variant. Hospitals are once again beginning to reach capacity as the delta variant is adding pressure to hospitals that are already experiencing staffing shortages. As of Wednesday, Sept. 22, there were just 13 available staffed ICU beds statewide.

Adolescents under 20 years of age encompass nearly one-third of North Dakota's active COVID-19 cases. As of Thursday, children under 12, an age group that is not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, accounted for 549 of the state's active cases.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES REPORTED THURSDAY, SEPT. 23: 631
  • ACTIVE CASES*: 3,495
  • DAILY POSITIVITY RATE: 6.57%
  • TOTAL KNOWN CASES THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 127,912
  • TOTAL RECOVERED THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 122,822
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*The Department of Health often amends the number of active cases after they are first reported.

Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, had the most known active cases on Thursday with 760 cases. Cass County, which encompasses Fargo, had 627 active cases, and Stark County, which includes Dickinson, had 282.

The state's 14-day rolling average positivity rate was 6.41% as of Thursday, Sept. 23.

Since June 27, there have been 461 cases of reinfection.

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 125

  • DEATHS: 0

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,595

Hospitalizations statewide increased by six over the previous day.

During the week of Sept. 12, North Dakota had 93 hospitalizations among unvaccinated residents and 15 among people who were fully vaccinated, according to Department of Health data.

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED*: 362,756 (54.7% of population ages 12 and up)

  • FULL VACCINE COVERAGE*: 335,203 (50.6% of population ages 12 and up)

*These figures come from the state's vaccine dashboard, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes vaccinations performed at federal sites, reports slightly higher vaccination rates.

Although a person can be infected with COVID-19 after they are fully vaccinated, the health officials emphasize that those who are inoculated often experience less severe symptoms have a less likely chance of being hospitalized.

Of the more than 335,000 North Dakotans who have been been fully vaccinated, 0.0582% were hospitalized due to COVID-19, according to the Department of Health.

The chance to become infected with COVID-19 also decreases when a person is vaccinated. In North Dakota, one in 85 fully vaccinated people have tested COVID-19 positive, compared to one in 12 unvaccinated individuals.

The Department of Health encourages individuals to get information about vaccines at www.health.nd.gov/covidvaccinelocator.

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Readers can reach reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at mgriffith@forumcomm.com.