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North Dakota reports 15 additional COVID-19 deaths

The newly reported deaths increases the state's November death count to 99 residents as the month closes out, and the number of November COVID-19 deaths will likely increase as death investigations conclude.

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A coronavirus graphic. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

BISMARCK — North Dakota recorded an additional 15 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, Nov. 30, heightening the state's overall pandemic death toll to 1,892 North Dakotans.

The newly reported deaths increase the state's November death count to 99 residents as the month closes out, and the number of November COVID-19 deaths will likely increase as death investigations conclude.

The North Dakota Department of Health also recorded an increase in the number of people hospitalized statewide due to COVID-19 to 171 residents, the vast majority of whom are not fully vaccinated. Active cases also increased on Tuesday, and many officials are expecting a bump in COVID-19 cases statewide within the next few weeks due to holiday travel.

Last week, a highly mutated coronavirus strain, the omicron variant, was first discovered in South Africa. Scientists are researching to understand more about the variant, including whether available vaccines are as effective against it as other strains and whether it is more easily transmissible.

However, because the variant has dozens of mutations compared to other coronavirus strains, early research is suggesting it may be more infectious.

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No omicron variant cases have been identified in the U.S. so far, and North Dakota is monitoring positive coronavirus tests for the new strain. The U.S. has restricted travel from multiple African countries in an effort to slow the omicron variant's spread, but on Tuesday two people in the Netherlands tested positive with the variant last week, suggesting that the omicron strain was already present in the country prior to researchers identifying it in South Africa.

The following are the latest COVID-19 statistics from the North Dakota Department of Health:

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES REPORTED TUESDAY, NOV. 30: 858
  • ACTIVE CASES: 2,919
  • DAILY POSITIVITY RATE: 10.82%
  • TOTAL KNOWN CASES THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 162,294
  • TOTAL RECOVERED THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 157,483

Cass County, which encompasses Fargo, had the most known active cases on Tuesday with 810 cases. Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, had 389 active cases, and Ward County, which includes Minot, had 231.
The state's 14-day rolling average positivity rate was 7.46% as of Monday, Nov. 29.

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 171

  • DEATHS: 15

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,892

Tuesday's 15 additional reported COVID-19 deaths encompassed residents from across the state, including four from Cass County, three each from Burleigh and Ward County and one each from Adams, Morton, McLean, Ramsey and Grand Forks.
Among the North Dakotans who were hospitalized last week due to COVID-19, more than 72% were not fully vaccinated.

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 389,555 (58.2% of population ages 12 and up)

  • FULL VACCINE COVERAGE: 368,037 (55% of population ages 12 and up)

  • BOOSTER DOSES ADMINISTERED: 113,523

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidance for booster doses in light of the emergence of the omicron variant. People who are 18 and older "should" get a booster dose, according to the CDC, which is an update from the agency's previous guidance that people in that age group "may" get a booster.

The CDC previously recommended a booster dose for people ages 50 and older, but now it urges residents 18 and up to receive an additional dose to bolster immunity.

People should receive a booster at least six months after the initial Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series and two months after a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the CDC.

“More than 60% of North Dakotan adults have started their COVID-19 vaccine series. I strongly encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said North Dakota State Health Officer Nizar Wehbi in a statement on Tuesday.

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The Department of Health encourages individuals to get information about vaccines at www.health.nd.gov/covidvaccinelocator .

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Readers can reach reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at mgriffith@forumcomm.com.

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