Grand Forks County reports first two cases of COVID-19

RTSA coronavirus CDC.jpg
This illustration shows the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Image courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Grand Forks County now has two confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the North Dakota Department of Health's latest update.

The cases include a woman and a man in the county, both of whom are in their 30s. Both cases are under investigation. Where the individuals live in the county has not been released. The cases are the first to be confirmed in Grand Forks County.

Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown said that “based on the magnitude of tests that have been run in Grand Forks County over the past few weeks” it should not be surprising that the county had its first positive test of COVID-19.

“If you had any doubts about the presence here, they should be gone,” Brown said in a statement. “We will continue to act with facts not fear as Gov. (Doug) Burgum has repeatedly said, and we will underscore the key message: Practice physical distancing, stay home, slow the spread.”

The individuals who tested positive were not tested at Altru, which has completed 686 COVID-19 tests. There are more than 50 pending tests as of Monday, March 30, at Altru.


Contact tracing will need to be done for the individuals who tested positive. How long that takes will depend on how many people each has been in contact with over the past two weeks, according to Debbie Swanson with Grand Forks Public Health.

Swanson said the department is not currently aware of where the individuals tested.

Brown said it’s important to stress a community health focus during these times, pointing to CDC guidelines on physical distancing and personal hygiene.

“From the city perspective, we continue to commit to delivering core services, including public safety and public works,” Brown said. “We will continue to communicate and coordinate with these professionals and to make sure we are providing clear, accurate and timely information to you during these challenging times.”

Swanson said it’s important for people who are required to be quarantined to do that in a safe environment, where they would not be exposed to other people.

Diane Knauf, chair of the Grand Forks County Commission, shared a similar message.

“On behalf of the Grand Forks County Commission, we can’t emphasize enough the importance for each of us to take personal responsibility to do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus in our communities,” she said in a statement. “The coronavirus outbreak throughout the world affects everyone, and we will all need to stand strong and work together to help make it through the challenges we are facing.”

There are now 109 confirmed positive tests of COVID-19 in North Dakota. However, the health department lists 20 people as having recovered from the illness. Nineteen patients are hospitalized with the illness.


On Monday, the state health department announced two more deaths in the state in relation to the illness. The first was a McHenry County woman in her 80s with underlying health issues who contracted the virus via community spread.

The second death was a Morton County man in his 70s who had underlying health conditions and also was infected via community spread.

In addition to the Grand Forks cases, the department announced multiple new cases in Cass County, which now has 23 total. Other new cases came from Burleigh, Mountrail and Ward counties. Testing has been done in all but two counties in the state, Slope and Billings.

As a public service, the Herald has opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status.

Sydney Mook has been the managing editor at the Herald since April 2021. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook has been with the Herald since May 2018 and was first hired as the Herald's higher education reporter where she covered UND and other happenings in state higher education. She was later promoted to community editor in 2019.

For story pitches contact her at or call her at 701-780-1134.
What To Read Next
Get Local