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North Dakota sees sharp rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations

The number of hospitalizations statewide has increased by more than 70% in one week, according to North Dakota Department of Health data.

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

BISMARCK — The number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 throughout North Dakota has increased by more than 70% in the last week, according to data from the North Dakota Department of Health.

Fourteen of the 128 patients hospitalized as of Tuesday, Aug. 31, were in the ICU. Three of the people hospitalized are under the age of 15, according to the Department of Health.

The number of active COVID-19 cases reached 2,254 known positives on Tuesday — the highest since December.

Statewide case rates

  • ACTIVE CASES*: 2,254

*The Department of Health often amends the number of active cases after they are first reported.

Cass County, which encompasses Fargo, has the most known active cases in the state with 435. Burleigh County had 429 known cases as of Tuesday, and Ward County, which encompasses Minot, had 197.


The state's 14-day rolling average positivity rate was 6.57% as of Monday, Aug. 30.

Since June 27, there have been 170 cases of reinfection.

Hospitalizations, deaths


  • DEATHS: 0

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,560

North Dakota had 23 staffed ICU beds available throughout the state as of Tuesday, along with 193 staffed in-patient beds. There was one available staffed ICU bed among Bismarck's two hospitals as of Tuesday. Thirteen staffed ICU beds were available among the three hospitals in Fargo.
The Department of Health began releasing data about breakthrough cases last week. A breakthrough case occurs when a person tests COVID-19 positive after they are fully vaccinated. During the week of Aug. 22, the state reported 12 hospitalizations where the person was fully vaccinated and 77 hospitalizations where the person was not fully vaccinated.


  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED*: 345,517 (52.2% of population ages 12 and up)

  • FULL VACCINE COVERAGE*: 318,849 (48.1% of population ages 12 and up)

*These figures come from the state's vaccine dashboard , though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , which includes vaccinations performed at federal sites, reports slightly higher vaccination rates.

Even though a person can be infected with COVID-19 after they are fully vaccinated, the health officials emphasize that those who are inoculated often experience less severe symptoms have a less likely chance of being hospitalized.

Almost 320,000 North Dakotans have been fully vaccinated, and 0.0373% were hospitalized due to COVID-19, according to the Department of Health.

The chance to become infected with COVID-19 also decreases when a person is vaccinated.

In North Dakota, one in 180 fully vaccinated people have tested COVID-19 positive, compared to one in 16 unvaccinated individuals, according to the Department of Health.


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.

Michelle (she/her, English speaker) is a Bismarck-based journalist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and Report for America, a national service organization that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities.
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