Active cases of COVID-19 in North Dakota on Monday dropped after a low-testing day.
The state Health Department's coronavirus dashboard showed 109 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, 2,883 active cases with 485 in Burleigh-Morton counties, and three new deaths.
Those deaths brought the pandemic total to 1,915, with 118 in November. Filing of official death certificates can take up to 10 days under state law.
The state no longer publicly reports the county, sex and age range of newly confirmed deaths. Burleigh and Morton counties have had 265 and 126 deaths, respectively.
The state's 14-day rolling average test positivity rate, at 7.6%, was the highest in six weeks, and continued to be well above the state target of less than 5%.
There have been 164,811 confirmed COVID-19 cases in North Dakota during the pandemic, with 160,013 recoveries and 6,583 hospitalizations.
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Active hospitalizations dropped by five from Friday, to 172. CHI St. Alexius Health and Sanford Health in Bismarck had no available staffed intensive care beds and 10 available staffed inpatient beds.
The onset of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus in late summer has driven the spike in COVID-19 data in North Dakota in recent months.
State health officials are now monitoring for the arrival of the new omicron variant, which scientists are still studying to determine its potential impacts.
Much remains unknown, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart the vaccines.
The first U.S. omicron case was documented Wednesday in California, in a vaccinated traveler who had recently traveled to South Africa. At least 15 states including Minnesota have identified omicron cases.
The vaccine dashboard shows 57.5% of eligible North Dakota adults, 35.3% of adolescents in the 12-18 age group and 3.7% of children ages 5-11 are considered fully vaccinated. People can go to ndvax.org or call 866-207-2880 to see where COVID-19 vaccine is available near them.
The CDC recommends COVID-19 booster shots for all adults. About 16% of North Dakotans have received a third dose of vaccine, but the dashboard does not distinguish between how many received a third dose because they are immunocompromised and how many received a general booster dose.
The coronavirus transmission risk is considered high in all of North Dakota's 53 counties except Burke, Renville and Slope, 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 health.nd.gov/coronavirus. For more information on coronavirus variants, go to cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant.html.
Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.