COVID-19 outbreak hits almost half of Grafton nursing home's residents

Forty-three residents and 20 staff members at Lutheran Sunset Memorial Home in Grafton, N.D., currently have COVID-19. Walsh County now has the highest number of cases per 10,000 people in the state.

FSA coronavirus CDC
This illustration reveals the spikes that adorn the outer surface of a coronavirus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. Submitted / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

GRAFTON, N.D. — Half the residents of a Grafton nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19, according to data from the North Dakota Department of Health.

The agency reported 43 residents and 20 staff members at Lutheran Sunset Memorial Home had the virus as of Friday, Nov. 6. The Walsh County assisted living facility is licensed for 91 beds. The home is one of 23 long-term care facilities in the state with 10 or more active cases of COVID-19.

The increase in cases in the Grafton nursing home comes amid a recent increase in active cases in Walsh County. Forty new cases were reported in the county on Friday, bringing the total number of active cases in the county to 331. That number is up from 212 one week ago on Oct. 30, and up from 49 one month ago on Oct. 6.

Walsh County, which has a population of about 10,660, now has 310 active cases per 10,000 people, the highest in the state.

The county is followed by Cavalier County, which has 293 active cases per 10,000 people, and Towner County, which has 251 active cases per 10,000 people.


Grand Forks County currently has 173 active cases per 10,000 people, Ward County has 206, Cass County has 27 and Burleigh has 152.

Hannah Shirley covers crime, courts and criminal justice for the Grand Forks Herald. She is a 2018 graduate of the University of Idaho and has lived and worked in Grand Forks since 2019. Prior to moving to North Dakota, she worked as a reporter for the Berkshire Record in Great Barrington, Mass., a receptionist for the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in Moscow, Idaho, and a barista in a New York City coffee shop. She can be reached by phone at (701) 780-1267 or by email at
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