North Dakota coronavirus news, March 25: Bismarck activates emergency operations center

North Dakota coronavirus news, March 25: Bismarck activates emergency operations center

From the North Dakota coronavirus news series
Coronavirus need to know

The latest North Dakota coronavirus news: emergency operations, load limits, equipment drive, film festival, scams, Medicaid and more.

Bismarck activates EOC

The city of Bismarck has activated an Emergency Operations Center in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The center will serve as a central point for “collecting, validating, analyzing, and organizing emergency information to provide for effective decision-making,” the city said in a statement.

The center also will help support Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health. Public Health Director Renae Moch and Assistant City Administrator Jason Tomanek are assuming lead roles.

Residents can find more information on the city website at, or follow social media sites at: and

Load limits update

Load restrictions are remaining in place on all roadways in the city of Bismarck with the exception of the Seventh Street and Ninth Street one-ways.

Gov. Doug Burgum on Tuesday announced that the state is lifting seasonal load limits on highways across the state, to help facilitate commerce during the coronavirus outbreak.

That doesn’t apply to city streets in Bismarck, except on the one-ways, which connect with state Highway 1804. The restriction on those streets is moved to “restricted by legal (vehicle) weights,” which the city says is essentially normal operation.

More information is available at:

The Morton County Highway Department announced Wednesday that it also is lifting spring load restrictions on all county paved roadways. Any questions can be directed to the Morton County Highway Department at 701-667-3346. 

The lifting of the load limit restrictions on state highways will necessitate refunds for some haulers who purchased oversize permits, according to the state Highway Patrol. Refunds could take up to two weeks to process.

Questions can be directed to North Dakota Highway Patrol Permits at or 701-328-2621.

Equipment donation drive

The North Dakota AFL-CIO in partnership with several groups will be hosting a personal protective equipment donation drive this weekend at Labor Halls in Bismarck and Fargo.

Unions will be accepting donations of new N95 masks and other protective equipment, which will be distributed to hospitals in North Dakota.

“It’s incredibly important that we ensure the health and safety of the front line workers in health care, always, but especially in this pandemic,” North Dakota AFL-CIO President Landis Larson said in a statement. “These workers having the proper personal protective equipment is vital to all our health and safety.”

Being accepted are: certified N95 masks from health care or construction uses, new and unused Tyvek/Hazmat suits, safety goggles, latex-free gloves, electric respirators and PAPRs. 

Other groups involved are the Minnesota Nurses Association, North Dakota Building Trades Unions, West Area Labor Council/Red River Valley, Northern Plains United Labor Council and the Red River Building Trades Council.

The Bismarck Labor Temple is at 1323 E. Front Ave. Donation times are 12-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. People bringing donations are asked to remain in their cars.

BPS Foundation starts fund

The Bismarck Public Schools Foundation has established a COVID-19 BPS Family Assistance Fund.

To donate online go to and click “COVID 19 BPS Family Assistance.” Check donations can be mailed to Bismarck Public Schools Foundation, 806 N. Washington St., Bismarck N.D. 58501. Write “COVID 19” in the check memo line. 

Families seeking assistance are encouraged to reach out to their school. The school’s counselor or social worker will connect them to established community resources as well as submit requests for funding needs that can’t be met within the existing resources.

Commerce grant deadline extended

North Dakota’s Department of Commerce has extended deadlines to apply for two new grants.

The new deadline is July 31 for both the Main Street Initiative Partners in Planning and the Main Street Vibrancy Grants. More information is available at

“Delaying the deadlines will also allow communities to take stock of the impacts of COVID-19, reassess community priorities as necessary and act accordingly,” Deputy Commerce Commissioner Shawn Kessel said in a statement.

The Main Street Initiative is a community and economic development program of Burgum’s administration.

CVB postpones annual meeting

The Bismarck-Mandan Convention & Visitors Bureau has postponed its March 31 annual meeting.

The CVB said it will work with its scheduled speaker and try to come up with a later date.

The bureau noted that the meeting topic, “digital marketing trends,” “may become even more relevant in our current environment.”

Film festival canceled

The Dakota Film Festival set for April 2-4 at the Belle Mehus Auditorium in downtown Bismarck has been canceled.

Ticket holders can receive a refund by contacting the Dakota Media Access office at 701-258-8767 or by email at

Medicaid webinar set

The North Dakota Department of Human Services will host a webinar to provide updated information and answer questions pertaining to Medicaid services and COVID-19.

The webinar is from 1-2 p.m. Central time on Friday. North Dakota Medicaid providers, advocacy organizations and other stakeholders are invited to participate.

Topics will include a waiver allowing North Dakota to temporarily change select Medicaid requirements to ensure sufficient health care services and resources are available to people enrolled in the program during the coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting will be available through Skype video conference at: People can join from any computer or mobile device. The meeting will be recorded and available for later viewing on the department’s website at:

Police caution about scams

Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the new coronavirus, and the public should be wary of phone calls and other contacts from unknown sources, according to Federal Trade Commission information being distributed by the Bismarck Police Department.

The commission urges people to hang up on robocalls without pressing any numbers; ignore online offers for COVID-19 vaccinations, cures or home test kits; fact-check information from all sources; know who they are buying from; don’t respond to texts or emails about checks from the government; don’t click on links from unknown sources; watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other experts saying they have information on the virus; and do homework before donating to a charity.

More information is available at

North Dakota virus numbers

North Dakota has 45 confirmed cases of COVID-19: 18 in Burleigh County, eight in Morton County, six in Cass County, three apiece in Ward and Ramsey counties, two each in Pierce and Stark counties, and one each in Walsh, Dunn and Foster counties. There have been no deaths. State and private labs have conducted 1,955 total tests, with 1,910 coming back negative. There have been eight hospitalizations, and no deaths.

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