North Dakota coronavirus news, April 4: Bismarck mayor to post weekly videos

North Dakota coronavirus news, April 4: Bismarck mayor to post weekly videos

From the North Dakota coronavirus news series
Coronavirus need to know

The latest North Dakota coronavirus news: Bismarck videos, blood drive, Theodore Roosevelt National Park closure and more.

City of Bismarck videos

Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken will be featured in weekly videos informing the community about the city's work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The city plans to publish the livestreamed videos every Monday on its Facebook page.

"I want everyone to know that the city continues to provide high-quality public services in partnership with our community to enhance Bismarck’s quality of life,” Bakken said in the first video.

Vitalant blood drive

Vitalant will hold a blood drive in Dickinson on Wednesday, April 15.

Vitalant is the only blood supplier for most of North Dakota’s hospitals. It needs about 250 donations a day across the state to keep up with regional hospital demand.

Health officials are worried about a decline in blood donations due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak. 

The drive is from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Biesiot Activities Center, at 398 State Ave. in Dickinson. To sign up for an appointment, call Carrie Knudson at 701-260-4970 or go to:https://www.bloodhero.com/index.cfm?group=op&expand=928762&zc=58601.

National park adds closures

Theodore Roosevelt National Park's campgrounds and a portion of its South Unit scenic drive have closed until further notice.

"Where it is possible to adhere to the latest health guidance, open spaces, trails, and picnic areas will remain open to provide healthy options for the public to enjoy," the National Park Service said in a news release on Saturday.

The federal agency last month also closed its sites' visitor centers until further notice.

Supreme Court arguments

The North Dakota Supreme Court clerk’s office is remaining open for filing documents, and the court plans to hear oral arguments by electronic means this coming week.

Requests for an extension or continuance related to the coronavirus outbreak will be considered if supported by good cause, Chief Justice Jon Jensen said in a statement.

“The health and safety of our judicial team members, litigants and attorneys is our priority,” he said. “We also understand our obligation to continue essential functions within the judicial system.”

Oral arguments will be livestreamed at www.ndcourts.gov and will be available for playback shortly after each case is heard.

The Supreme Court is in the state Capitol, which is closed to public access. Arrangements can be made for entry to the building if delivery to the clerk of court is required. The clerk can be reached at: supclerkofcourt@ndcourts.gov or 701-328-2221. 

Sanford to waive costs

Officials with the Sanford Health Plan said Friday the insurance carrier is waiving all out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 treatment through the end of May.

The health plan will cover all costs for testing and treatment for its members, including outpatient care and inpatient hospital stays, the company said in a release. It applies to all fully insured group and individual plans for its customers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.

Out-of-pocket costs include medical co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance charges related to treatment for COVID-19.

“This is about providing peace of mind to our members,” John Snyder, president of the Sanford Health Plan, said in a statement. “This is an uncertain time for many families and we’re doing our part to stand with them as we all navigate this pandemic.”

The announcement follows a similar move earlier this week by the Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in those four states.

Morton County meetings

Morton County is offering a virtual option through GoToMeeting for public attendance and participation at county commission and other board meetings.

The goal is to follow federal advice to minimize large public gatherings. The first meeting to utilize the method will be the county commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

To join from computer, tablet or smartphone, go to https://www.gotomeet.me/MortonCounty. People also can dial in, at 1 (669) 224-3412, access code 370-200-173. The access code will be different for each meeting.

To get the app, go to https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/370200173.

More information can be found by clicking on "virtual meetings" under "quick links" on the county website, at: https://www.mortonnd.org/.

Burleigh County meetings

Burleigh County Auditor/Treasurer Allan Vietmeier said Monday's county commission meeting will take place, but only 10 people will be allowed on site to prevent a large gathering.

People with business to conduct should email avietmeier@nd.gov

Options for watching and listening to the meeting include: government access (Midcontinent) cable channels 2 and 602 HD; https://tinyurl.com/FreeTV-2; channels also are streaming on Roku or Apple TV; radio access 102.5 FM; RadioAccess.org

The meeting also can be streamed from the link found on the Burleigh County website at: www.burleighco.com.

North Dakota virus numbers

North Dakota has 186 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 34 in Burleigh County and 16 in Morton County. There have been 30 hospitalizations statewide, 63 recoveries and three deaths. State and private labs have conducted 6,207 total tests, with 6,021 coming back negative.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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