North Dakota coronavirus news, April 8: Coalition launches resources website

North Dakota coronavirus news, April 8: Coalition launches resources website

From the North Dakota coronavirus news series
Coronavirus need to know

The latest North Dakota coronavirus news: website help, staying fit, State Hospital, benefit concert and more.

Coalition launches resources website

More than a dozen North Dakota advocacy organizations have launched a coalition website for resources and policy recommendations amid the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic woes.

NDcovidresponse.org includes links to websites for emergency assistance, worker safety, housing, health care, food and government resources.

The partner organizations are AFL-CIO, Indivisible, North Dakota Native Vote, North Dakota United, Farmers Union, American Civil Liberties Union, Creating a Hunger Free North Dakota, North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, North Dakota Women's Network, North Dakota Community Action Partnership, Dakota Resource Council, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, North Dakota Nurses Association, High Plains Fair Housing, Fargo-Moorhead Coalition to End Homelessness, Cass Clay Food Commission, Prairie Action ND and North Dakota Voices Network.

'Homebody Hero' campaign

Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health has launched a "Homebody Hero" campaign to help people stay healthy, active and occupied while staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We want to provide lots of different ways that anyone can use to keep themselves physically and mentally active while they’re at home practicing social distancing,” Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health Director Renae Moch said. “Social distancing and staying at home are some of the most important things people can do to help slow the spread of COVID-19."

The campaign consists of daily social media posts that provide infographics and tips on staying active at home. To participate, follow Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health at www.facebook.com/BBPH.gov.

Heartview Foundation precautions

The Bismarck-based Heartview Foundation is continuing to offer substance abuse treatment and education but is taking numerous precautions, including daily screening of patients and staff for COVID-19 symptoms.

Some of the other measures the nonprofit has taken include suspending community gatherings and visitation, suspending nonessential work-related travel, requiring social distancing among patients and daily disinfection.

“We understand now more than ever, individuals and families struggling with addiction are in need of resources,” Executive Director Kurt Snyder said. “Therefore, Heartview Foundation plans to continue services and offer support, as long as it is safe for patients and staff.”

State Hospital response

North Dakota’s State Hospital in Jamestown has established a unit for screening new admissions and providing care if any patients test positive for COVID-19 but don’t need regular medical or hospital care.

The facility also has emergency plans to expand inpatient bed availability if needed.

A visitor restriction policy is in place at the State Hospital. Officials will determine later this month if it should be extended another 30 days.

“Our team members are working diligently to ensure that all patients continue to receive the appropriate and necessary behavioral health services needed to facilitate recovery,” said Dr. Rosalie Etherington, the hospital’s superintendent. “We have been focusing on our COVID-19 preparedness efforts, and if any State Hospital patients were to test positive, plans are in place to respond quickly.” 

COVID-19 Help Line

CHI St. Alexius Health has established a COVID-19 Help Line to provide information, to answer questions and to direct patients who might be at risk for coronavirus.

A four-point questionnaire is available at chistalexiushealth.org/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-questions, which will direct respondents to more information or services.

CHI St. Alexius Health also has a coupon for one free, COVID-related virtual care visit, available at CHIStAlexiusHealth.org/VirtualCare.

“Virtual Care is a great option for people who are trying to avoid public places. You can be treated for a minor ailment, like a sinus infection, without leaving home,” said Dr. Lisa Laurent, chief medical officer.

State urges video security

As platforms for videoconferencing have become popular for working and learning from home, state officials are urging the public to follow safety precautions for cybersecurity threats.

Such threats include hackers accessing online meetings and devices’ microphones and cameras and shouting profanities and hate speech or sharing pornography.

North Dakota’s Information Technology Department and its education technology arm have worked with K-12 and higher education officials to reduce cybersecurity risks to teachers and students using remote technology for distance learning.

North Dakota Chief Information Security Officer Kevin Ford suggests the following cybersecurity tips:

  • Require a password to access online meetings
  • Control meeting access through a waiting room
  • Don’t publish meeting invitations publicly
  • Save meetings with password protection

Cybersecurity alerts are detailed at NDResponse.gov.

Kat Perkins benefit concert

Singer Kat Perkins is holding a concert Friday via Facebook Live to benefit the Great Plains Food Bank.

Perkins, from Scranton, was a semifinalist during season six of NBC’s reality show “The Voice.” She currently is a Minneapolis-based recording artist.

The concert can be viewed on the Facebook pages for both Perkins (@katperkinsmusic) and the Great Plains Food Bank (@NDFoodBank), beginning at 7 p.m.

Fans can make donations to help the food bank feed the hungry during the coronavirus outbreak.

Great Plains Food Bank is North Dakota’s only food bank. The not-for-profit organization distributes millions of pounds of food each year to hunger-relief efforts in 99 communities across North Dakota and into eastern Minnesota. About half of those communities are in the western two-thirds of North Dakota.

North Dakota virus numbers

North Dakota has 251 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 42 in Burleigh County and 18 in Morton County. There have been 98 recoveries and four deaths. A total of 34 people have been hospitalized; 16 remain so. State and private labs have conducted 8,552 tests, with 8,301 coming back negative.

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