BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health on Thursday, May 28, announced 42 new cases of COVID-19, most of which come from the state's hotspot and largest metro area.

The department also reported that a Cass County man in his 80s has died from COVID-19.

Like every other victim of the illness, the department said the man had underlying health conditions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says older adults and people with HIV, diabetes, asthma, liver disease or other conditions that compromise one's immune system are at a greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.

Fifty-seven North Dakotans, including 46 residents of Cass County, have now died from the illness that has claimed more than 100,000 lives nationwide.

Thirty-six of the new cases Thursday came from Cass County. The county now has 1,632 known cases, but the department reports more than 65% of the infected residents in the county have recovered. Nearly four in five currently infected North Dakotans reside in Cass County.

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The other six new cases Thursday came from Burleigh, Grand Forks, Richland, Traill and Ward counties.

A total of 2,481 North Dakota residents have tested positive, but more than 70% have recovered from the illness. There are 35 residents hospitalized with the illness, down five from Wednesday.

The state got back on track with testing, announcing 1,978 test results Thursday. The previous two days had seen far fewer tests completed than the state's goal due to the Memorial Day holiday.

Almost half of the people in the latest batch had previously been tested for the virus. Gov. Doug Burgum said the state is performing regular testing of those living and working in nursing homes.

A total of 86,728 tests have been performed, but some residents have been tested more than once.

Burgum said the state and its health care providers aim to perform 4,000 tests per day by the end of the month. He has maintained throughout the pandemic that widespread available testing is the key to restoring normalcy to work and home life.

State lab director Christie Massen said the lab hopes to bring on two new machines this week that will significantly boost testing capacity.

Nursing home cases near 500 as Fargo facility sees uptick

The number of cases in residents and employees of nursing homes and long-term care facilities increased by 18 on Thursday to 496 total cases.

The wide majority of the deaths from COVID-19 in the state have come in long-term care facilities, which are viewed as particularly susceptible to deadly outbreaks of the illness because many residents are 65 or older and have underlying conditions.

Fifteen of the new cases in nursing homes were reported in residents and employees of Edgewood Fargo, which now has the third highest case count of any facility in the state at 53.

Two other Fargo facilities, Villa Maria and Rosewood on Broadway, each have more than 60 known cases, but it's unknown how many residents and employees are currently infected. About 70% of the cases in nursing homes have come in Fargo.

The health department does not discern between employees and residents in its reporting of nursing home cases. It also does not clarify how many active cases, recoveries and deaths are tied to each facility.

An executive order restricting visitation at nursing homes remains in place as other restrictions on movement and business closures have been lifted, but Burgum has said the state will share on Friday how it plans to reopen the facilities.

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