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COVID-19 cases top 200 in North Dakota; precautions urged for out-of-state workers

COVID-19 cases top 200 in North Dakota; precautions urged for out-of-state workers

From the North Dakota coronavirus news roundup of the week: April 5-April 11 series

State and industry officials are urging employers to follow certain protocols if they have workers from other states or countries coming to North Dakota, as COVID-19 cases in the state surpass 200.

The state Department of Health on Sunday reported 21 additional cases of the disease that results from the new coronavirus, pushing the state total to 207, with 31 hospitalized, 63 recovered and three deaths.

The new numbers are for Saturday. They include three new cases in Burleigh County, pushing the county's total to 37. Neighboring Morton County has 16. Cass County, which had six new cases reported Sunday, leads the state with 54. Two more cases were confirmed in Stark County, raising the total there to 25, and Mountrail County had six more cases, raising its total to 19. Cass County is home to Fargo, Stark County is home to Dickinson, and Mountrail County includes the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

Other new cases reported Sunday were in Grand Forks, McKenzie and Emmons counties. The Emmons County case is the first confirmed in that south central county. Emmons County Public Health Executive Officer Bev Voller issued a statement urging the county's 3,200 residents to take seriously precautions such as social distancing, washing hands and staying home when sick. 

“It is our hope this confirmed case doesn’t change your day-to-day approach to personal safety because you are already utilizing these steps to help keep yourself, your family and your neighbors safe,” Voller said. “However, if you had been ignoring these recommendations, or believing COVID-19 couldn’t happen here, it is here. We will all work together to get through this. But we need your help in taking this pandemic seriously.”

The new cases also include a child younger than 10 in Stark County.

State and private labs have tested 6,787 people, with 6,580 being negative. The number of people tested is up 580 from the previous day.

Gov. Doug Burgum has stressed that because testing data lags and not everyone is tested, the actual number of positive cases in the state could be 10 times higher.

The department reports case numbers to the news media, on social media and on its website at: www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus.

Seasonal workers

Agriculture, construction and other seasonal workers will soon be coming to North Dakota for spring employment, and officials including Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring are stressing the need to take precautions.

“Agriculture producers are ramping up for spring’s work and getting ready to get out into their fields. Many of these producers rely on H-2A (foreign) workers and workers from other states to fill employment gaps,” Goehring said. “Producers who have workers arriving from other countries or states should follow proper procedures upon their arrival.”

Associated General Contractors of North Dakota Executive Vice President Russ Hanson urged employers to familiarize themselves with state Department of Health travel quarantine orders specific to their industry.

“Most importantly, we encourage everyone to exercise good judgment and be safe,” he said.

Protocols include having workers fill out a travel survey, quarantine for 14 days and take basic precautions such as washing hands frequently.

Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation President Randy Hatzenbuhler said all employees coming from out of state for seasonal work at Medora will be quarantined for two weeks.

“While quarantined, those employees will be paid their normal wage and will have meal delivery available to them,” he said.

 

Reach Blake Nicholson at 701-250-8266 or blake.nicholson@bismarcktribune.com.

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