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Active COVID-19 cases fall below 3,000 in North Dakota; hospitalizations jump over weekend

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Active cases of COVID-19 in North Dakota over the weekend fell below 3,000 for the first time since mid-September, but coronavirus-related hospitalizations took a big jump.

North Dakota's Health Department on Monday reported 165 new virus cases after a typical Sunday of light testing, and 2,841 active cases statewide. There were 494 active cases in Burleigh-Morton counties -- the first time that figure dropped below 500 since late August, when the onset of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus caused cases, hospitalizations and deaths to spike.

COVID-19 hospitalizations went from 137 on Friday to 163 on Monday. About 8.5% of staffed inpatient beds were available statewide and about 8% of intensive care unit beds were open, according to the most recent state data. CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck had five available staffed general care beds and three ICU beds; Sanford Health Bismarck had seven open inpatient beds and no ICU beds.

No new deaths were reflected on the state's virus dashboard Monday, but two were reported over the weekend, raising North Dakota's pandemic toll to 1,852. The state no longer publicly reports the county, sex and age range of newly confirmed deaths. The dashboard death totals for Burleigh and Morton counties remained at 252 and 124, respectively.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, there have been 158,707 confirmed COVID-19 cases in North Dakota, with 154,014 recoveries and 6,320 hospitalizations.

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The state's vaccine dashboard shows 56.8% of eligible North Dakota adults and 34.6% of adolescents in the 12-18 age group are considered fully vaccinated; 7.6% of children 5-11 have received an initial vaccine dose. Shots for that age group are just getting underway. People can go to https://www.ndvax.org or call 866-207-2880 to see where COVID-19 vaccine is available near them.

The coronavirus transmission risk is considered substantial or high in all of North Dakota's 53 counties except Towner and Cavalier, according to the CDC's COVID-19 data tracker website. The CDC recommends people in those risk categories wear masks in public indoor settings.

A list of free COVID-19 testing offered by local public health units is at health.nd.gov/covidtesting. For more detailed information on coronavirus in North Dakota, go to www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus. For more information on coronavirus variants, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant.html.

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