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Active COVID-19 case count surpasses peak in North Dakota

For the first time since a November 2020 peak in cases, the number of active infections has surpassed 10,000. Health experts believe the known cases only paint part of the picture since many other residents are infected but haven't been tested at an official site.

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A coronavirus graphic. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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BISMARCK — Amid an outbreak fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant, North Dakota reported the highest active COVID-19 cases count of the entire pandemic on Friday, Jan. 21.

For the first time since a November 2020 peak in cases, the number of active infections has surpassed 10,000. Health experts believe the known cases only paint part of the picture since many other residents are infected but haven't been tested at an official site.

Although the now-dominant omicron strain has seemed to cause a milder illness than previous variants for many people, public health leaders said over the weekend "the sheer number of (virus) patients is flooding hospitals and clinics with sick people."

The wave of cases in North Dakota matches surges seen across the country.

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

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Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES REPORTED: 2,695
  • ACTIVE CASES: 10,860
  • DAILY POSITIVITY RATE: 19.1%
  • 14-DAY ROLLING POSITIVITY RATE: 19%
  • TOTAL KNOWN CASES THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 208,000
  • TOTAL RECOVERED THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 195,073

North Dakota's active COVID-19 cases jumped by about 1,300 over the previous day. Active cases have increased sevenfold since the beginning of the month.
Cass County, which encompasses Fargo, has the most active cases in the state at 3,270. Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, has 1,538 active cases, while Grand Forks County has 1,156.

Rolette County leads the state in cases per capita by a wide margin; however, the county that includes the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation has done proportionally more testing than any other county. The number of known cases in a county is heavily dependent on testing levels, though experts believe the virus is spreading widely even in areas with low testing.

The 19% rolling positivity rate is the highest of the entire pandemic.

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 166
  • DEATHS REPORTED FRIDAY: 6
  • TOTAL DEATHS: 2,067

The Department of Health reported six COVID-19 deaths on Friday.
The state reported 18 available intensive care beds and 174 regular inpatient beds across the state on Thursday.

The majority of residents hospitalized with COVID-19 in the last week were not fully vaccinated.

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 484,965 (62.2% of population)
  • FULL VACCINE COVERAGE: 409,283 (52.3% of population)
  • BOOSTER DOSES ADMINISTERED: 171,979 (22.1% of population)

The top two figures come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , which includes vaccinations performed at federal sites, while the bottom figure comes from the state's vaccine dashboard , which gives a fuller picture of booster and third doses.

Jeremy Turley is a Bismarck-based reporter for Forum News Service, which provides news coverage to publications owned by Forum Communications Company.
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