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Active COVID-19 cases reach all-time high in North Dakota as infections surge in Williston, Grand Forks metros

Twenty-two new cases came from Williams County, which has seen a dramatic rise in infections. More than half of the residents ever known to have had the virus during the pandemic were confirmed positive in the last week. The county now has 84 active cases, up 14 from Sunday.

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3D print of a SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—virus particle. The virus surface (blue) is covered with spike proteins (red) that enable the virus to enter and infect human cells. National Institutes of Health
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BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health on Monday, July 20, announced 107 new cases of COVID-19, mostly in the state's five largest metro areas.

There are now 814 North Dakotans known to be infected with the virus, marking a pandemic-high in active cases, according to the department's website .

North Dakota has seen COVID-19 infections surge over the last month, with active cases more than tripling in the state, but unlike Florida, Texas and other major virus hot spots, North Dakota is among the top states in testing per capita and the rate of positive tests has remained relatively low.

About 1.9% of the 5,702 test results announced Monday came back positive, but more than half of those tested as part of the latest batch of results had been tested previously.

The department also announced a Williams County woman in her 70s has become the first death in the county that encompasses Williston. Like nearly all other North Dakota residents who have succumbed to the illness, the woman had underlying health conditions.

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Twenty-four of the new cases came from Cass County, which includes Fargo and West Fargo. The state's most populous county once again has the most currently infected residents in state with 169.

Another 24 new cases came from Grand Forks County, which has seen nearly 50 new infections announced in the last two days. The county now has 95 known active cases, up 13 from Sunday.

Twenty-two new cases came from Williams County, which has seen a dramatic rise in infections. More than half of the residents ever known to have had the virus during the pandemic were confirmed positive in the last week. The county now has 84 active cases, up 14 from Sunday.

Seventeen of the new cases came from Burleigh County, which encompasses Bismarck. Prior to Monday, the county had the most known active cases in the state, but now sits just below Cass County with 167.

Ward County, which includes Minot, recorded eight new cases, bringing the active case count to 37.

The department says 93 North Dakotans have died from the illness, including 73 residents of Cass County. Sixty-four of the deaths have come in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

There are still four deaths that remain in a " presumed positive " category, which means a medical professional determined that COVID-19 was a cause of death but the person was not tested for the illness while he or she was alive.

Forty-five residents are hospitalized with the illness, up seven from Sunday. Gov. Doug Burgum has frequently stated that North Dakota's hospital capacity has never been challenged during the pandemic.

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Burgum said the state has the capacity to perform at least 5,000 tests per day, and he has urged residents to seek testing whether they have symptoms or not. The state has put on free mass testing events in the state's biggest metro areas for more than a month.

A total of 5,019 North Dakota residents have tested positive, but 4,131 recovered.

The state has announced the results of 257,223 tests, but some residents have been tested more than once.

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Jeremy Turley is a Bismarck-based reporter for Forum News Service, which provides news coverage to publications owned by Forum Communications Company.
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