North Dakota's Health Department reported two more coronavirus-related deaths over the weekend, though hospitalizations declined slightly and active COVID-19 cases fell.
The new deaths reported Saturday brought the state's pandemic toll to 1,573. The Health Department no longer publicly reports the county, sex and age range of newly confirmed deaths, but Burleigh and Morton counties' death totals on the state's coronavirus dashboard remained unchanged, at 207 and 102, respectively.
Active cases statewide on Monday stood at 2,815, down from 3,093 reported Friday. There were 180 new cases confirmed Monday, from a typically light day of testing on Sunday, but the daily positivity rate surpassed 12%.
The state's 14-day rolling average test positivity rate was at 6.37%. It remains above the state target of less than 5% but has been relatively stable over the past two weeks after soaring sharply from a recent pandemic low of 1.05% on July 5. Health officials say the highly contagious delta variant has driven the increase.
There were 109 COVID-19 patients in North Dakota hospitals on Monday, down from a reported 114 on Friday. State data showed 205 available staffed inpatient beds and 15 available intensive care unit beds statewide. In Bismarck, Sanford Health had three available staffed beds and no ICU beds; CHI St. Alexius Health had five available staffed beds and one ICU bed.
Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, North Dakota has had 122,736 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 118,348 recoveries and 4,880 hospitalizations.
Health officials are urging people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 to get a shot. The state's vaccine dashboard shows 51.7% of eligible North Dakota adults and 28% of adolescents in the 12-18 age group are considered fully vaccinated. People can go to health.nd.gov/covidvaccinelocator 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 five of North Dakota's 53 counties, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID-19 data tracker website. The CDC recommends people in those risk categories wear masks in public indoor settings. Burleigh and Morton counties both are in the high category.
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.