BISMARCK — North Dakota health officials on Tuesday, Sept. 14, reported three new COVID-19 deaths and drops in virus hospitalizations and active virus cases.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES REPORTED MONDAY, SEPT. 13: 373

  • ACTIVE CASES*: 2,712

  • DAILY POSITIVITY RATE: 8.5%

  • TOTAL KNOWN CASES THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 123,104

  • TOTAL RECOVERED THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 118,116

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

North Dakota's active cases dropped by 61 from the previous day on Tuesday, marking the third straight day of decline since active positives crested 3,100 at the end of last week. Active cases are up more than fivefold over the beginning of August, and hospital administrators have said that the peak of North Dakota's delta surge may not hit until the end of September.

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Cass County, which encompasses Fargo, has the most known active cases in the state with 514. Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, has 492 known cases as of Monday, and Grand Forks County has 216. The worst per capita outbreaks in the state have skewed towards western counties, where vaccination rates are substantially lower. Grant and Adams counties current have the worst per capita outbreaks in the state, while McKenzie County, which includes Watford City, has seen its per capita outbreak subside somewhat since leading the state late last week.

The state's 14-day rolling average positivity rate is 6.3%.

Nearly half of the state's 2,712 active cases have been reported in residents under the age of 30, according to the health department's dashboard.

A more than 93% vaccination rate among nursing home residents has held the virus in check within long-term care facilities even as the state's virus numbers grow exponentially. The state reported 23 resident cases and 54 staff cases on Tuesday. Over the course of the pandemic, nursing home residents have made up almost 60% of virus-related deaths.

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 100

  • DEATHS: 3

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,576

The state reported three new deaths since the end of last week, one in Ward County, which includes Minot, one in Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, and one in Bowman County. The department no longer provides information about the gender or age of deceased residents.

Hospitalizations dropped by nine on Tuesday from the previous day and are down by 36 from a recent high at the end of August. The number of people hospitalized with the virus is still twice the level of a month ago, and health care providers are struggling to keep up with new admissions amid staffing shortages. Unlike last fall's COVID-19 peak, hospitals are dealing with many noncoronavirus patients on top of high-maintenance COVID-19 patients.

North Dakota had 15 staffed intensive care beds available throughout the state as of Monday, along with 195 staffed inpatient beds, according to a health department database. Bismarck's two hospitals had no ICU or inpatient beds available, while Fargo's three hospitals had a combined seven ICU beds and nine inpatient beds. The bed capacity figures only reveal capacity at a single point in time, and hospitals may actually have more or fewer beds open than when they reported to the Department of Health, said Emergency Preparedness Chief Tim Wiedrich.

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED*: 356,809 (53.7% of population ages 12 and up)

  • FULL VACCINE COVERAGE*: 328,642 (49.5% 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.

More information about vaccines can be found at www.health.nd.gov/covidvaccinelocator.

Readers can reach reporter Adam Willis, a Report for America corps member, at awillis@forumcomm.com.

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