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COVID-19 hospitalizations climb again as North Dakota reports 3 more deaths

COVID-19 hospitalizations climb again as North Dakota reports 3 more deaths

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North Dakota health officials on Tuesday reported 503 new cases of COVID-19, three more coronavirus-related deaths and another increase in hospitalizations.

The state's education leader also announced that hundreds of masks will soon be going out to schools around North Dakota.

The large number of new cases almost was balanced out by 500 new recoveries, but current hospitalizations reached 116, another new daily high. Hospitalizations have surpassed 100 for six consecutive days. Hospital capacity has become a concern around the state and in Bismarck.

There were 245 available staffed inpatient beds including 39 intensive care unit beds in North Dakota on Tuesday, according to the health department. There were 15 available staffed beds including four ICU beds in Bismarck.

The newly reported deaths of a Stark County woman in her 80s and man in his 90s and a Rolette County man in his 70s brought the statewide pandemic total to 280. All three had underlying medical conditions, according to the Department of Health. The state did not report a new death in Burleigh or Morton counties for the second straight day.

Department officials on Tuesday reported new COVID-19 cases in 47 of the state's 53 counties, including 102 in Burleigh and 25 in Morton, raising the statewide total since mid-March to 24,364. Burleigh continued to lead the state in active cases, with 659. Morton had 240. The state active case total dropped by one from the previous day, to 3,692.

The number of state residents tested for coronavirus at least once is at 250,087 and total tests number 673,003, including 6,103 handled Monday.

Coronavirus in North Dakota Active

Burleigh and Morton counties are in the yellow "moderate" risk level, which is in the middle of the state's five-level color-coded system. The risk level determines what sort of coronavirus-related protocols are in place under the ND Smart Restart Plan for everything from businesses to family gatherings. The protocols are not enforced.

Fourteen other North Dakota counties are at yellow, 25 are in the green or "low" risk level and 12 are in the blue "new normal" level. The state reviews the county risk levels on a weekly basis. They did not change last week.

The state's COVID-19 Smart Restart County Analysis data dashboard can be accessed at www.health.nd.gov/healthmetrics. For more detailed information on coronavirus in North Dakota, go to health.nd.gov/coronavirus.

Masks for schools

North Dakota’s public and nonpublic schools will be getting shipments of cloth masks for students and faculty, State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced Tuesday.

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction is providing almost 160,000 masks in partnership with several other state and federal agencies. The federal allocation is based on North Dakota’s number of students from low-income families. The emphasis is on first providing masks to students from low-income households, and/or who are at higher risk.

“Mask use among students, teachers, administrators and school support personnel not only promotes public health, it can reduce the number of quarantines necessary if there are close contacts with someone who is infected with the virus,” Baesler said.

Shipments of large masks for use by adults and students in grades 7-12 are being distributed beginning this week. Smaller masks intended for students in grades K-6 will be distributed once they arrive in North Dakota.

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

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