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Ramsey County records first COVID-19 death

Ramsey County records first COVID-19 death

A Ramsey County resident has died with COVID-19 and 31 new cases were reported since Sunday, most of them in the state hot spot of Cass County, state officials reported on Monday.

The woman who died was in her 90s and had underlying health conditions. Her death is the first in the county to be tied to COVID-19 and the 44th in the state. Ramsey County is in northeast North Dakota and is home to Devils Lake, the state’s 12th largest city with a population of about 7,300.

Twenty-six of the new cases were reported in Cass County, home to Fargo, the state’s largest city. A previously reported positive case from Cass County was determined to be from another state. Three cases were reported in Burleigh County and one each were reported in Sioux and Ransom counties.

Monday’s results bring the state’s number of positive cases to 1,931, up by 31 from Sunday. A total of 56,561 individuals have been tested, an increase of 1,340 from Sunday, with 54,630 testing negative. 

A total of 133 people have been hospitalized by the disease, up by three from Sunday. Thirty-two, two more than on Sunday, remain hospitalized. Of those who have tested positive, 1,219 have recovered. That’s an increase of 41 in the last 24 hours.

Coronavirus in North Dakota

Gov. Doug Burgum will not hold a press conference on Monday. Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Burgum will be participating in a video conference briefing with President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and senior administration officials, said Burgum’s spokesman Mike Nowatzki.

Antibody testing issued

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread issued guidance to health insurers Monday regarding testing to determine if a person has COVID-19 antibodies. The testing is done, at times, to determine if a person who has not shown any symptoms of the virus has contracted it. It can be an indication that they might have some immunity to the disease, although researchers are still studying whether a person can become infected more than once.

"The Insurance Department expects carriers to cover antibody tests only when such tests are medically necessary in order to support diagnosis or treatment for COVID-19 or for treatment of another disease when information about COVID- 19 antibodies may impact the future outcome of that treatment for an individual," the department said in a statement.

Antibody testing done for public health surveillance or screening employees is not considered medically necessary, according to the department.

The department expects insurance companies to cover initial testing to determine if a person has COVID-19 "when a patient's symptoms indicate the medical need to conduct a test."

“Our health insurance industry has stepped up to the plate by expanding services and waiving cost sharing for testing and treatment related to COVID-19 and will continue to cover those tests and treatments," Godfread said. "These protocols are developed in support of our medical professionals, but regarding public health data and employment screening those responsibilities have always rightfully remained with government or the employers seeking that screening.”

The full bulletin Godfread issued Monday is available at insurance.nd.gov/bulletins. Questions can be directed to insurance@nd.gov.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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