In his address to the public on Monday, April 6, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said that considering positive tests to population size ratios, two counties are being closely monitored as hotspots for COVID-19 in the state — with Stark County one of them.

Burgum addressed the state's recent launch of a pilot project which was conducted over the weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, two Western Edge towns hosted drive-through COVID-19 test centers aimed at testing residents who showed no signs of COVID-19.

The tests were aimed at identifying positive tests in asymptomatic individuals which could be extrapolated to determine statewide numbers.

"On Sunday, April 5, a second drive-up test was held in Gladstone in Stark County, east of Dickinson," Burgum said. "Stark County and Mountrail County are the two counties that actually got a higher percentage of positive cases per population than even any of our other metro areas."

Burgum continued, "Do we have any hotspots in North Dakota, right now the two counties that we have our eyes on are Stark and Mountrail."

Newsletter signup for email alerts

In Gladstone, testing supplies were depleted quickly, resulting in many being turned away.

"We want to apologize to those people who came, waited and were turned away because we didn't have enough tests," Burgum said. "We tested a lot more than we thought were going to show up."

Burgum also confirmed a fourth death in the state from COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, saying that an Emmons County man in his 70s with underlying health issues died earlier in the day and it is believed that the man contracted the virus via community spread, meaning the source is unknown.

The NDDoH today confirmed 18 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 225 confirmed cases. A total of 32 individuals have been hospitalized, and 19 of those are currently hospitalized; 74 have recovered. A total of 7,213 tests have been completed.The new cases on Monday were predominately Cass County people, moving the county to top in the state.

Despite pressure from citizens and neighboring governments, North Dakota remains one of nine states to not issue a statewide stay-at-home order.

Gov. Doug Burgum today signed two executive orders designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in North Dakota and protect the most vulnerable from the coronavirus disease by limiting visitation to long-term care facilities.

The first executive order requires individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to self-quarantine in their place of residence for no less than 14 days or as directed by order of the State Health Officer. Family and household members residing with the infected individual and identified by the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) as a contact of an infected individual must do the same.

“Self-quarantine is the least restrictive and most practical means of isolating individuals who are contagious or exposed to COVID-19,” Burgum said. “We will continue to take targeted action to slow the spread of the coronavirus and preserve hospital capacity to save lives.”

Burgum noted that North Dakota already has a 14-day self-quarantine order in place for citizens returning from states on the CDC’s widespread-COVID-19 list. That order was issued by the State Health Officer and includes exceptions for essential critical infrastructure workers as defined by the Department of Homeland Security.

In today’s other executive order, Burgum suspended visitation to long-term care facilities, including skilled nursing facilities and basic care facilities, except in cases of end-of-life or compassionate care circumstances such as medical and emotional care for patients with terminal diseases, including hospice care.

All non-essential personnel and volunteers are restricted from long-care facilities until further notice.

For more information on the state’s COVID-19 response, visit www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus or www.ndresponse.gov.

As a public service, we've opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status