BISMARCK — In the deadliest reporting day of the pandemic, the North Dakota Department of Health on Tuesday, Nov. 10, announced 30 more residents have died from COVID-19.
The deaths came from all over the state, including nine from Ward County, eight from Burleigh County, six from Dickey County, two from Cass County and two from Stutsman County. Most of the victims were older than 70, though some were 50s and 60s.
The department says 674 North Dakotans have succumbed to the illness since March, and deaths have been climbing at a rapid pace over the last three months. The state has averaged about 10 COVID-19 deaths per day in October and November.
At least 383 of the state's deaths have come in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Eleven facilities have more than 15 active cases in residents, including Lutheran Sunset Homes in Grafton, which has 55 infected residents. Ward County, which includes Minot, has seen several severe outbreaks in nursing homes lately, which likely led to Tuesday's high death toll.
The department reported that a software error has temporarily shut down its COVID-19 dashboard, so it's unknown how many North Dakotans are currently infected and hospitalized with the virus.
North Dakota has reported the most COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita in the nation over the last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The whole region is experiencing a surge in cases, with Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Montana all seeing increasing cases.
The state's hospitals are under severe staffing crunches, and available hospital beds are scarce. While only about 20% of the patients hospitalized in North Dakota have COVID-19, hospital administrators say the strain is mostly due to the extra staff and resources that must go to patients with the virus.
Gov. Doug Burgum announced on Monday, Nov. 9, several extraordinary measures to address the staffing shortage, including allowing health care workers with asymptomatic cases of the virus to work in hospitals' COVID-19 units.
The Health Department reported 894 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. All but 11 of the state's 53 counties reported at least one new case.
Cass County, which includes Fargo, reported 162 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Burleigh County, which encompasses Bismarck, reported 135 new cases Tuesday. Morton County, which sits just west of Burleigh County and includes Mandan, reported 43 new cases.
Ward County reported 140 new cases, while Grand Forks County reported 54 new cases.
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