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Active COVID-19 cases in North Dakota increase nearly 240% in one month

North Dakota had its most severe coronavirus outbreak back in November 2020, and now it's once again approaching the alarmingly high number of infections it experienced over a year ago.

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A coronavirus graphic. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health on Friday, Jan. 14, reported 8,560 active COVID-19 cases, a nearly 240% increase from the number of known infections the state had exactly one month ago.

Officials say North Dakota is only in the beginning of another pandemic surge, which is fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant. Earlier this week, North Dakota broke pandemic records for the most new cases reported in one day.

The state has reported 11,756 new positive individuals within the last seven days, the Department of Health said, and the omicron variant accounted for 81% of test sample collected over the past week for genome sequencing, according to the North Dakota state laboratory.

North Dakota had its most severe coronavirus outbreak in November 2020, and now it's once again approaching the alarmingly high number of infections it experienced over a year ago.

The following are COVID-19 case rates, deaths and hospitalizations from the North Dakota Department of Health as of Friday.

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Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES REPORTED: 2,106
  • ACTIVE CASES: 8,560
  • DAILY POSITIVITY RATE: 16.1%
  • 14-DAY ROLLING POSITIVITY RATE: 15.64%
  • TOTAL KNOWN CASES THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 192,239
  • TOTAL RECOVERED THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 181,633

As of Thursday, Jan. 13, North Dakota's 14-day positivity rate was 15.64%, which is close to the state's positivity apex in November 2020 — 15.94%.
Cass County, which encompasses Fargo, reported the most known active cases in the state Friday with 2,891. Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, had 1,211 active cases, and Grand Forks County had 897 active cases.

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 135
  • DEATHS REPORTED FRIDAY: 3
  • TOTAL DEATHS: 2,046

The three additional COVID-19 deaths reported on Friday included one resident each from Burleigh, Morton and Cass County.
Nearly 75% of patients hospitalized in the state due to COVID-19 are not fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health.

Hospital capacity was scarce as of Thursday, according to a statewide database. Bismarck's two hospitals both reported zero staffed ICU and zero staffed in-patient beds. Fargo's three hospitals collectively had two staffed in-patient bed and only Sanford Health Fargo had staffed ICU beds available.

Five of the 135 residents currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 in North Dakota are under 6 years of age.

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 479,994 (63% of population)
  • FULL VACCINE COVERAGE: 405,235 (53.2% of population)
  • BOOSTER DOSES ADMINISTERED: 167,351 (21.4% of population)

The top two figures are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , while the bottom figure is from the state's vaccine dashboard . The Department of Health encourages people to find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine at www.health.nd.gov/protect.

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

What to read next
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When given early, lab-engineered antibody infusions have reduced COVID-19 hospitalizations among persons at high risk. Previous versions of these treatments do not appear to work against the omicron variant, however. Replacement products are in short supply, with providers given a few dozen treatments weekly while managing hundreds of new patients.
Sanford Health administrators stress that no agreement has been reached, and can't predict when pandemic conditions will allow them to accept Canadian patients.
The 13 fatalities raise the state's COVID-19 death toll to 2,573, with 85 deaths reported in January thus far. The COVID-19 daily hospitalization tally jumped significantly, climbing 44 to 392. Of those, 76 are in intensive care.