BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health reported eight new COVID-19-relate deaths in addition to 127 new cases of the virus in the state as well as a drop in statewide active cases.

The deceased, five women and three men, ranged in age from their 70s to 90s and resided in Burleigh, Cass, LaMoure, Renville, Stutsman, Walsh and Ward counties.

The deaths moved the state's total number of deaths to 1,381 since the pandemic began. Statewide, 1.4% of those who have become infected with COVID-19 have died.

Of the state's 127 new cases, 25 originated from Fargo's Cass County, while Minot's Ward County added 21 new cases. Bismarck's Burleigh County recorded 10 new cases. Adams, Barnes, Bowman, Burke, Foster, Golden Valley, Grand Forks, Hettinger, LaMoure, McHenry, McIntosh, McKenzie, McLean, Morton, Mountrail, Nelson, Pembina, Pierce, Ramsey, Ransom, Richland, Rolette, Sioux, Stark, Stutsman, Walsh and Williams counties each posted nine or fewer new cases.

The new cases emerged from 4,954 tests for a daily positivity rate of 2.98%.

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Hospitalizations moved upward slightly from Friday's total, with 95 residents currently hospitalized for COVID-19. The state also reported 208 new recoveries, moving the recovery rate for those who have become infected to 98%.

Active COVID-19 cases in the state dropped from yesterday's number, with 1,513 North Dakotans currently infected with the virus, 162 fewer than Friday. Over the past week, active cases across North Dakota have dropped 24%.

Cass County reported 305 active cases Saturday, down 30% from seven days prior.

Over the past week, active cases fell in each of North Dakota's three other metro areas. Burleigh County totaled 175 active cases Saturday, down 20% from a week ago. Ward County and Grand Forks County tallied 153 and 137 active cases Saturday, both slight decreases from a week prior.

Williston's Williams County had 80 active cases of COVID-19 Saturday and Mandan's Morton County had 65.

Despite having only 30 active cases, sparsely-populated Golden Valley County on the state's western edge led North Dakota in per capita active cases, with 170 per 10,000 residents.

Active cases have dropped precipitously since mid-November, coinciding with Gov. Doug Burgum's decision to implement a statewide mask mandate. That mandate is slated to expire Monday, Jan. 18, Burgum said, though local mask mandates will remain in effect. In Fargo, city commissioners this past week voted 3-2 in favor of extending the mandate through Feb. 18.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a total of 23,440,774 COVID-19 cases and 390,938 deaths attributed to the virus.

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