BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health on Sunday morning, May 24, announced 54 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, as well as one new death as a result of the disease.

Forty-two of the 54 new positive cases are from Cass County, with five new cases from Richland County, two new cases in Burleigh County, Grand Forks County and Walsh County and one new case from Traill County.

The reported death is a man from Cass County in his 90s who had underlying health conditions. The new death brings the state's total to 53 deaths in which a resident either died with the illness or the cause of death is pending death records. North Dakota's fatality rate for COVID-19 is 2.19%

The new cases from Cass County bring the county's total number of positive cases to 1,528, representing one case for every 119 residents of the state's largest county.

Grand Forks County, the state's third most populous, ranks second in the state with a total of 323 total positive cases. Burleigh County's total increased to 131. Traill County saw its total number of cases rise to 21, while Richland County and Walsh County have 20 and 13 positive cases, respectively.

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The Department of Health also reported Sunday that two pieces of lab equipment malfunctioned, causing 82 positive results to be deemed inconclusive. The tests are currently considered positive, however the individuals whose results are uncertain will be asked to retest. The department does not expect the malfunction to impact future lab capacity or processing.

The state announced two new hospitalizations for the illness as well as one false-positive case, which was removed from the count of positive cases. Forty residents are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. In total, Saturday's number of daily tests was 2,414, with more than half of those administered to individuals who had yet to be tested. The positive rate for Saturday's tests was 2.2%.

Individuals between the age of 20 to 39 continue to constitute the largest group of those contracting the disease, representing 43% of the state's positive cases. Senior citizens over the age of 70 account for 45 of the state's deaths.

Eleven of the 54 newly-announced cases are reported from residents or employees of long-term care facilities. Fargo's Rosewood on Broadway added six new cases and Villa Marie added a pair of cases. Twenty cases have been documented at Luther Memorial Home in Mayville, which accounts for all but one of Traill County's cases.

The new cases emerged after Gov. Doug Burgum called upon residents Friday to set aside political differences to support one another during the pandemic.

"I would really love to see in North Dakota that we could just skip this thing that other parts of the nation are going through where they're trading a divide — either it's ideological or political or something — around masks versus no mask," Burgum remarked. While residents are not required to wear a mask in public, some choose to do so for a variety of reasons, the governor added.

"I would just love to see our state, as part of being North Dakota Smart, also be North Dakota Kind, North Dakota Empathetic," Burgum said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have documented 96,002 deaths as a result of COVID-19, out of 1,595,885 cases. Globally, 337,405 deaths have been recorded out of 5,201,549 cases.

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