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Gov. Doug Burgum rescinds emergency order as COVID-19 cases rise in North Dakota

With the termination of the COVID-19 emergency declaration also comes the end of 19 pandemic-related executive orders, including one that states a person who tests positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate to prevent community spread.

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North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum appears at a COVID-19 news conference. Kyle Martin / The Forum

BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum on Wednesday, April 21, announced he is lifting North Dakota's COVID-19 emergency declaration even while the state's active cases continues to rise, and the number of North Dakotans hospitalized due to the illness has nearly doubled in three weeks.

Burgum first made the pandemic emergency declaration on March 13, 2020, as the first COVID-19 cases began to pop up across the country. Former President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the same day, which has been extended and is still in effect.

With North Dakota's emergency order termination also comes the retirement of 19 pandemic-related executive orders.

One of the orders that will no longer be in effect is a self-isolation order that states individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate in their residence "to prevent and contain community spread." The order also requires people who come in close contact with the infected person must self-quarantine, but as of April 30 that order will no longer be in place.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a person who has COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for it should isolate themselves from others for at least 10 days.

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Burgum in a release said he is rescinding the COVID-19 emergency declaration in part because the state is shifting the focus of its pandemic response toward administering COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Lifting this emergency declaration on April 30 recognizes the tremendous progress our state has made in protecting the most vulnerable, preserving hospital capacity and making safe, effective vaccines available to every eligible North Dakotan,” Burgum said Wednesday.

More than 46% of North Dakotans have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Wednesday, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.

Burgum acknowledged in the release that countries worldwide are experiencing another wave of COVID-19 cases. In North Dakota, active cases have increased in the last month with 1,124 residents known to be infected with the virus.

The number of hospitalizations in North Dakota has nearly doubled in three weeks. On April, 1, North Dakota reported 26 COVID-19 hospitalizations. On April 21, it reported 49 hospitalizations. This is far less than the more than 330 COVID-19 hospitalizations the state reported back in November when the number of staffed hospital beds was scarce.

North Dakotans should continue to social distance, wear a mask when social distancing isn't possible and get vaccinated, said Interim State Health Officer Dirk Wilke on Wednesday. He said residents should continue mitigation strategies because the virus is still present in the state.

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

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 178
  • TOTAL ACTIVE CASES: 1,124
  • TOTAL CASES: 106,218
  • TOTAL RECOVERED: 103,610
  • DAILY TEST POSITIVITY RATE: 4.06%

North Dakota's active case count increased by 53 on Wednesday. Cass County reported 43 positive cases, while Burleigh County reported 28 additional positive cases.

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Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 49

  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 2

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,484

The deaths were of a Cass County man in his 80s and a Dickey County man in his 60s.

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 270,537 (46.2% of population)

  • COMPLETED SERIES (TWO DOSES): 225,171 (38.5% of population)

The Department of Health urges residents to seek more information at www.health.nd.gov/covidvaccinelocator .

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