BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health reported one new COVID-19 death on Friday, Oct. 8, as active virus cases held near their highest point of the delta surge.

With nearly 4,500 confirmed active cases, North Dakota's outbreak reached its highest level this week since last December. The state's health care centers have been operating near critical capacity due to a convergence of noncoronavirus admissions, staffing shortages and rising delta hospitalizations.

North Dakota's surge in delta cases comes as virus outbreaks are subsiding in most other parts of the country. The national seven-day moving average for new cases has dropped by 40% since the beginning of September, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even as North Dakota and several other Upper Midwest and Western states have seen their virus numbers grow. North Dakota ranks behind only Alaska and Montana in new per capita cases over last seven days, according to the CDC.

The following are the North Dakota case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations as of Friday. Because all data is preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Statewide case rates

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  • ACTIVE CASES: 4,485

Children under age 12, a demographic not yet eligible for vaccination, accounted for 709 of North Dakota's active cases on Friday, as well as two of the state's virus hospitalizations. More than a quarter of North Dakota's active cases are residents under 20 years old.

Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, had the most known active cases on Friday, with 886. Cass County, which encompasses Fargo, had 865 active cases, and Stark County, which includes Dickinson, had 374.

The state's 14-day rolling average positivity hit 8.1% on Friday, more than a point higher than in early September and its highest level since December 2020.

Hospitalizations, deaths


  • DEATHS: 1

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,635

The Department of Health updated figures on Friday to reflect a higher number of recent hospitalizations than has been previously reported. According to the latest data, North Dakota hit a recent high of 204 virus hospitalizations last weekend. Hospitalizations remain near their highest level since last September, dropping slightly to 184 in recent days.

One child five years old or younger was hospitalized with the virus on Friday, along with three children between six and 14.

A total of 11 staffed ICU beds were available statewide, according to the latest updates in state health department database. Bismarck's two hospitals had just one ICU bed and four inpatient beds available. Fargo had six ICU beds and six inpatient beds.


  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 370,422 (55.7% of population ages 12 and up)

  • FULL VACCINE COVERAGE: 344,389 (51.8% of population ages 12 and up)

The Department of Health encourages individuals to get information about vaccines at

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Readers can reach reporter Adam Willis, a Report for America corps member, at