The deaths came across the state, including four from Burleigh County, three from Stark County, two from Bottineau County, two from McHenry County and each from Cass, Grand Forks, McLean, Morton counties, Towner, Ward and Williams. All victims are at least 60 years old and have underlying health conditions.
The department said 388 North Dakotans had given up on the disease since March, and deaths had risen rapidly in the last two months. The state averaged more than seven COVID-19 deaths per day in October, putting it at a pace to get away with the deadliest month of pandemics.
At least 245 of the state deaths have come to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, some of which have been reduced by the virus in the last two months. The seven facilities have 10 or more residents infected, including Minot’s Somerset Courts, which has 74 residents with the virus – more than half of the facility’s residents.
There are now 5,247 North Dakota known to be infected with the virus. This is the ninth day in a row the state has set a new record and for the first time the number exceeds 5,000.
North Dakota reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita in the country in the last week, according to The New York Times. The entire region is experiencing an influx of cases, including South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Montana and Minnesota which have all been identified by the publication as states where infections are “high and remain high.”
The number of residents hospitalized due to the disease rose to 148 on Friday. Another 69 patients were initially hospitalized with some other ailments but later tested positive for COVID-19. Thirty-nine residents with the virus are in intensive care.
North Dakotans who were transferred out of state for medical care are not being monitored by the health department, spokeswoman Nicole Peske said.
The state is battling a shortage of available hospital beds as COVID-19 hospitals come together with affiliates with health care personnel and high-risk noncoronavirus admissions. There are 19 beds available for intensive care and 236 regular, inpatient beds statewide.
The situation is even more dire in Bismarck, where two hospitals have one available ICU bed and five inpatient beds between them.
Fargo’s three hospitals have a combined five open ICU beds and 17 inpatient beds, while Grand Forks’ Altru hospital reports it has two ICU beds and 18 inpatient beds.
The health department reported 877 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. All but 10 of the 53 state provinces have reported at least one new case.
Cass County, which includes Fargo, reported a whopping 223 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. The state’s most popular province has seen an increase in new infections in the last two weeks and now has the most active cases in the state with 1,045. That is more than all North Dakota had recently in mid-August.
Grand Forks County, which has seen a recent influx of infections, has reported 113 new cases, bringing the number of active cases to 400.
Burleigh County, which covers Bismarck, reported 108 new cases on Friday. The province had the second most active case in the state with 890. Morton County, which sits just west of Burleigh County and includes Mandan, reported 29 new cases and had 315 active cases.
The three largest metro areas in the state provide nearly half of the active cases in the state.
Ward County, which includes Minot, reported 116 new cases on Friday. The province, which is seeing its worst outbreak so far, now has the third most active case in the state of 445.
Approximately 10% of the 8,761 residents tested as part of the latest batch received a positive result, but 17% of residents tested for the first time got a positive result.
North Dakota does not report a seven-day rotation average for the positive rate, but the Forum News Service calculates a rate of 9.2% for all residents tested and 16.1% for tests taken from previously untested residents. Both rates are the highest since Forum News Service started tracking numbers in early August.
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