North Dakota health officials on Wednesday reported six more coronavirus-related deaths, along with increases in active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
The Health Department's virus dashboard has recorded 23 new deaths in just the last five days, raising the state's pandemic death toll to 1,658. The Health Department no longer publicly reports the county, sex and age range of newly confirmed deaths. Death totals for Burleigh and Morton counties on the department's dashboard were not immediately updated Wednesday afternoon.
COVID-19 deaths, cases and hospitalizations all have been rising since mid-July due to the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.
Wednesday's dashboard showed 662 new cases from 9,528 tests processed Tuesday, with state officials calculating a positivity rate of 7.31%. The state's 14-day rolling average test positivity rate dropped slightly for a second straight day. It remained just under 8% but well above the state target of less than 5%.
Active COVID-19 cases statewide rose by 115, to 3,979. They were relatively stable in Burleigh-Morton, at 881.
There were 183 virus patients in North Dakota hospitals, up two from Tuesday. Hospital capacity remained a concern, with only about 8% of staffed inpatient beds statewide available.
The most recent state data showed 167 available staffed inpatient beds and 11 available intensive care unit beds statewide. In Bismarck, CHI St. Alexius Health had four available general care beds but no ICU beds; Sanford Health had no available beds listed in either category.
Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, North Dakota has had 139,563 confirmed virus cases, with 133,926 recoveries and 5,562 hospitalizations.
The state's vaccine dashboard shows 54.3% of eligible North Dakota adults and 32.1% of adolescents in the 12-18 age group are considered fully vaccinated. North Dakota has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S., according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 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 but four of North Dakota's 53 counties, 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.