BISMARCK — North Dakota has set a record for the number of tests it has conducted, with Thursday's batch confirming 39 additional coronavirus cases, according to numbers release Friday, April 24.

Thursday’s count for positive tests brings the state’s total to 748 cases, according to the North Dakota Department of Health. North Dakota has processed 17,449 tests since the first case was reported March 11, and it’s positive testing rate was 4.3% as of Thursday.

Thursday’s batch also produced the highest single-day total of testing with 1,119, bringing the one-day positive rate to 3.5%, according to an analysis of the numbers.

"We are getting the testing engine up and running a little bit stronger," Burgum said during a news conference in Bismarck. "We've got a long ways to go, but that we have more tests."

Of Thursday’s total, Cass County had 28 cases, Grand Forks County had eight, and Walsh, Williams and Burleigh counties each had one, according to a news release issued Friday.

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So far, 67 people in the state have been hospitalized, including two from Thursday, because of the coronavirus, the state said. Seventeen are currently in the hospital, and 285 people have recovered from the virus, according to the release.

No new deaths were reported in Thursday’s count, keeping the state total at 15 fatalities.

North Dakota ranked ninth for testing per capita, but that is likely to change as more tests become available across the U.S. Still, he has said he wants to test 1,000 people per day.

In other news, the Bank of North Dakota launched two programs to help businesses.

The Small Employer Loan Fund allows businesses with 10 full-time employee equivalents or less to apply for a loan of up to $50,000. The loans are for working capital, recurring expenses and replenishing inventory. Payments can be made for up to 10 years with a fixed interest rate of 1%, with deferral of loan payments for up to six months.

The COVID-19 PACE Recovery Program allows businesses with less than 500 employees to get a loan up to $5 million. Companies with more than 500 employees can get up to $10 million.

"Loan payments may be deferred for up to six months, at which time the loan will term out with up to a 10-year amortization," a news releases said. "The interest rate on the loan will be bought down by BND to 1% for a period of time, with a maximum buydown of $500,000."

Businesses must have been established before Feb. 15 to qualify. The deadline to apply is Nov. 30.

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