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Despite low population, positive COVID-19 cases increase in Walsh County

The pandemic is now moving into rural areas.

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Unity Medical Center in Grafton, ND.

GRAFTON — Walsh county hosts a mass testing event Tuesday, July 14 as cases in rural areas grow.

Walsh County has 32 active cases and cases have continued to increase along with the rest of the state.

People attending the county's mass testing event Tuesday, July 14 waited 2 hours during drive-up testing in the parking lot of the North Valley Vocational Center.

Walsh County Health District offered this free testing to any person aged 12 or older with a goal to test 500 people.

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Staff from Unity Medical Center in Grafton, North Dakota said they are ready for hospitalizations, but usually refer patients to Altru hospital in Grand Forks.

Staff at Unity Medical Center are expecting positive tests to increase.

"Positives each day continue to be higher than what we had seen previously for the next couple of weeks," said Jared Marquardt, a physician at Unity Medical Center. "My guess is that over the next couple weeks with more testing and more contract tracing we will see more positives."

The staff also said the community is more cautious than when the virus seemed further away.

"I think because we had low numbers at first there may have been a calming and a relaxation of some of the social distancing and preventive measures," said Alan O'Neil, chief executive officer at Unity Medical Center.

Walsh County has completed 4,732 tests according to the North Dakota Department of Health website in addition to the people tested at the mass event today.

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