1. Gov. Burgum details COVID-19 nursing home deaths in telephone town hall

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has revealed for the first time the number of people living in long-term care facilities in the state who have died thus far from COVID-19.

The information came during an hour-long telephone town hall meeting on Wednesday, May 6, put on by AARP North Dakota, the state chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons.

Following a question from a member about nursing home deaths, moderator and AARP State Director Josh Askvig asked the governor whether that number would be published by the state health department.

Read more from The Forum's Robin Huebner

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2. North Dakota relaxes quarantine rules for domestic travelers

Gov. Doug Burgum speaks about coronavirus at a press conference in the North Dakota Capitol on Wednesday, April 29. Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service
Gov. Doug Burgum speaks about coronavirus at a press conference in the North Dakota Capitol on Wednesday, April 29. Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

North Dakotans no longer will have to isolate themselves if they travel back from other states in the U.S., Gov. Doug Burgum announced Friday, May 8.

The announcement relaxes an executive order that required those coming back into the state from around the U.S. for 14 days. However, the Centers for Control Disease and Protection recommends U.S. domestic travelers limit travel to essential trips, Burgum said.

The amendment to the executive order comes the same day that North Dakota reported two more people, both in their 80s, died after contracting coronavirus. The state Department of Health said Friday a woman from Cass County and a Grand Forks County man, both of whom had underlying conditions, died after tests confirmed they had the virus. That brings the total death count to 33.

Read more from The Forum's April Baumgarten

3. After backing away last month, Simplot pushed for another mass coronavirus test; eight employees there have tested positive

Simplot will be closing for two weeks for cleaning and maintenance. Herald file photo
Simplot will be closing for two weeks for cleaning and maintenance. Herald file photo

Eight J.R. Simplot workers have tested positive for COVID-19, and company leaders are pushing for a large-scale test of their employees.

That effort comes shortly after the company stepped back from a state- and city-led plan to test the workers at its plant off Gateway Drive last month. Company leaders approached city officials about a second mass test last week.

The company’s plant has been closed for about two weeks. Maintenance crews are scheduled to begin returning to work Friday morning before staff begin to return on Sunday. Operations are scheduled to resume on Monday, May 11.

Read more from Forum News Service's Joe Bowen

4. North Dakotans sue state department for rules that prohibit sale of homemade meals, food products

Cottage food proponents say proposed North Dakota rules are too onerous and restrict certain foods for sale, such as canned green beans. Pixabay
Cottage food proponents say proposed North Dakota rules are too onerous and restrict certain foods for sale, such as canned green beans. Pixabay

Several North Dakotans are suing the state Department of Health for their right to sell homemade food products and meals.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit that was filed earlier this year in Burleigh County District Court argue rules that the health department implemented on Jan. 1 prohibit them from selling homemade meals and food products that once were allowed by the Cottage Food Act. The legislation that was approved in 2017 allowed certain homemade goods to be sold without inspection or licensing.

“We really feel like people should be able to sell and make money selling their products from home, and consumers should have the choice,” said Danielle Mickelson, a Rolla resident who is one of the original plaintiffs in the case.

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5. NDSU fans in limbo after Oregon governor's statement on coronavirus

North Dakota State running back Chase Morlock hauls in a touchdown pass at Iowa in 2016, NDSU's last game against an FBS opponent. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
North Dakota State running back Chase Morlock hauls in a touchdown pass at Iowa in 2016, NDSU's last game against an FBS opponent. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

The streak for Bob Clark is at 478 consecutive North Dakota State football games, a super fan feat that dates back to 1982. Through all of those road games, there has not been one where it was iffy if he was going to make it due to flight cancellations or any other travel challenges.

Now this.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s statement this week that it’s possible all large gatherings through September in her state may have to be modified leaves the distinct possibility the NDSU at University of Oregon football game on Sept. 5 could be played in a nearly empty Autzen Stadium. That doesn’t bode well for visiting fans.

Read more from The Forum's Jeff Kolpack