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State reports another COVID-19 death on anniversary of first pandemic fatality

State reports another COVID-19 death on anniversary of first pandemic fatality

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North Dakota's Health Department reported the state's 1,466th coronavirus-related death on Friday, the one-year anniversary of the state's first confirmed pandemic fatality.

Meanwhile, active cases of COVID-19 in Burleigh-Morton counties rose above 100 for the first time in three weeks.

Health officials on March 27, 2020, reported the death of a Cass County man in his 90s with COVID-19. The victim later was confirmed as Roger Lehne, 93, of Fargo, who had died the previous day, March 26.

The death reported Friday also was a Cass County man in his 90s. It brought that county's pandemic death toll to 198, most in the state. Burleigh County has had 187 coronavirus-related deaths, and Morton County 98.

Coronavirus in North Dakota Active

The state tally includes deaths due to COVID-19, deaths where disease was present but not the primary cause, and deaths where the disease is listed as the cause despite the absence of a positive test. The bulk of the 1,466 deaths -- about 82% -- are due directly to COVID-19.

Deaths spiked last fall -- 297 in October, 499 in November and 282 in December -- and have tailed off this year, with just 39 reported since the beginning of February.

COVID-19 cases also have fallen off in 2020, though they have been rising this week.

Officials reported 184 new cases Friday, bringing the pandemic total to 102,382, with 99,956 recoveries and 3,925 hospitalizations. Current hospitalizations fell by five, to 16. The state calculated a positivity rate of 4.07% from 6,153 tests completed Thursday.

Active cases statewide rose by 72, to 960 -- up from 702 on Monday. They rose to 102 in Burleigh-Morton counties, up from 74 on Monday.

Nearly 369,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since they became available in the state in mid-December, to more than 217,000 people. Two of the three available vaccines require two doses, weeks apart.

More information

All North Dakota counties are in the green "low" risk level on the state's five-level color-coded system. The risk level determines coronavirus-related protocols in place under the ND Smart Restart Plan for everything from businesses to family gatherings. Those protocols are not enforced. For more information, go to

The state's COVID-19 Smart Restart County Analysis data dashboard can be accessed at A list of free testing offered by local public health units is at A list of vaccine priority groups can be found at People can go to or call 866-207-2880 to see where COVID-19 vaccine is available near them.

For more detailed information on coronavirus in North Dakota, go to

Reach Blake Nicholson at 701-250-8266 or

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