Weekly COVID-19 cases in North Dakota have dropped below 1,000 for the first time since last spring.
The state Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus dashboard, updated every Friday, showed 981 new cases in North Dakota in the previous seven days, compared with 1,043 the previous week. The last weekly total below 1,000 was 960, reported May 27.
Mutants of the omicron coronavirus variant drove a summer spike in cases, but they have been on the decline for about two months.
There were 174 new cases in Burleigh-Morton counties over the week, down from 183 the previous week.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines county risk levels based on COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalization data. They can be found at https://bit.ly/3AfSY2A. Three North Dakota counties -- Grant, Mercer and Emmons -- are at high risk this week. Fourteen including Burleigh and Morton are at medium risk, and 36 are at low risk.
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The CDC recommends that people in high-risk areas wear a mask indoors in public, and that people in medium-risk areas who have conditions that make them prone to severe illness wear a mask.
The state's weekly coronavirus dashboard is meant to provide a look at longer-term trends and also the severity of disease. Coronavirus patients continue to make up a small portion of occupied hospital beds in the state -- 3.1% of occupied inpatient beds and 4.7% of intensive care unit beds. There were 60 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in North Dakota over the past week, down from 67 the previous week.
Federal data shows no new virus-related deaths in North Dakota over the week, keeping the state's pandemic total at 2,364. CDC death data fluctuates from week to week due to lags in reporting. County-level death data is not available. There have been 269,306 confirmed COVID-19 cases in North Dakota during the pandemic that began in March 2020.
Federal data shows that 67.6% of North Dakota adults are fully vaccinated, with the rate for all vaccine-eligible people -- age 5 and older -- at 61.2%. The national averages are 77.6% and 72%, respectively.
COVID-19 booster shots are recommended for people 12 and older. North Dakota's first booster rate is 47%, compared to 50.3% nationally.
Go to https://www.ndvax.org or https://bit.ly/3N3IMxb or call 866-207-2880 to see where COVID-19 vaccine is available. Information on free public testing and free test kits is at health.nd.gov/covidtesting. State Health Department guidance and resources for businesses is at https://bit.ly/3w0DpKj. More detailed pandemic information is at www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.