BISMARCK — North Dakota's active COVID-19 cases have nearly doubled in the last week, climbing to 431 on Friday, July 30, with more than 400 new positives coming in the last seven days.

The growing outbreak comes as the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19 has spread rapidly in certain low-vaccination pockets of the country, especially in the Southeast. Hospitalizations in North Dakota remain near their lowest levels of the pandemic, but some states with rising delta prevalence have seen their hospitals struggle to accommodate surges.

North Dakota's Department of Health has detected 33 cases of the delta variant in North Dakota. But the department only performs genome sequencing on a small fraction of positive tests, and health experts believe the highly contagious strain has become the dominant variant across the country in the last few weeks.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention responded to the delta surges with modified guidance recommending a return to mask-wearing in public, indoor spaces in high-transmission areas, including Bismarck and Minot.

And experts in North Dakota have said that North Dakota's below-average vaccine uptake makes it vulnerable to delta-driven outbreaks, particularly in areas where the jab has not been widely accepted. The majority of adults in many western North Dakota counties remain unvaccinated.

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Following are the North Dakota Department of Health COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations as of Friday. Because all data is preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 324,770 (49.3% of population ages 12 and up)

  • COMPLETED SERIES (2 doses): 304,294 (46.4% of population ages 12 and up)

The health department urges residents 12 and older to get vaccinated and seek information at www.health.nd.gov/covidvaccinelocator.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 401
  • ACTIVE CASES AS OF JULY 31: 431
  • TOTAL CASES: 111,570
  • TOTAL RECOVERED: 109,600

North Dakota's active cases increased by 190 over the last week, marking the second consecutive week of growth and a substantially larger increase than the week before. In the last seven days, the state has registered more than 400 new positive tests. Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, leads the state with 85 active cases, while Ward County, which includes Minot, has 82.

The state's rolling 14-day average positivity rate for its COVID-19 cases has climbed to 2.8%, almost three times the rate of early July.

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 11

  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 1

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,539

The department reported one new death in the last week, from Burleigh County. Though active case numbers have climbed in the two weeks, hospitalizations remain at some of their lowest levels of the pandemic, falling by two since last Friday. The majority of those hospitalized in the state are between 60 and 69 years old.

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