BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health on Wednesday, Sept. 29, reported the number of known active cases in the state surpassed 4,000 for the first time since early December 2020.

The number of active cases reported on Wednesday is 25% higher than North Dakota had one year ago, according to Department of Health data.

The latest peak in COVID-19 cases, fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, is infecting more children compared to previous coronavirus strains, according to health experts. As of Wednesday, four people hospitalized in the state due to COVID-19 were children up to age 5.

Nearly 30% of North Dakota's active cases are residents under 20 years of age. Children under 12 years of age, who are not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, encompassed 596 of North Dakota's active cases.

Statewide case rates

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  • NEW CASES REPORTED WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 29: 830
  • ACTIVE CASES*: 4,030
  • DAILY POSITIVITY RATE: 7.85%
  • TOTAL KNOWN CASES THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 131,399
  • TOTAL RECOVERED THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 125,759

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

Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, had the most known active cases on Wednesday with 856 cases. Cass County, which encompasses Fargo, had 774 active cases, and Stark County, which includes Dickinson, had 298.

The state's 14-day rolling average positivity rate was 7.05% — the highest since December 2020.

Since June 27, there have been 539 cases of reinfection.

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 128

  • DEATHS: 3

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,610

The three additional COVID-19 deaths reported on Wednesday included two residents of Burleigh County and one from Walsh County.

A total of 12 staffed ICU beds were available statewide as of Tuesday, Sept. 28, according to a Department of Health database. Bismarck's two hospitals had zero available staffed beds, and Fargo had six among its three hospitals.

The vast majority of people hospitalized in North Dakota are unvaccinated. During the week of Sept. 19, a total of 72 people hospitalized were not inoculated, compared to 23 who were fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health.

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 365,537 (55.1% of population ages 12 and up)

  • FULL VACCINE COVERAGE: 338,564 (51% 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.

North Dakota ranks in the bottom 10 states in COVID-19 vaccination rate, according to the CDC.

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.