BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health on Wednesday, Sept. 9, reported 239 new cases of COVID-19 and an overall drop in active cases.

The department also confirmed the deaths of a Ward County man in his 60s. Like the vast majority of North Dakotans who have succumbed to the illness, the man had underlying health conditions, according to the department.

The department says 157 North Dakotans have died from the illness, including 83 residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. There still are four deaths that remain in a "presumed positive" category, which means a medical professional determined that COVID-19 was a cause of death but the person was not tested for the illness while he or she was alive.

There are now 2,220 North Dakotans known to be infected with the virus — a slight decrease from Tuesday. Fifty-three residents are hospitalized with the illness, including 19 patients in intensive care.

Sixty-seven of the new cases came from Williams County, which encompasses Williston. The county in northwest North Dakota now has 178 active cases.

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Forty-nine of the new cases came from Burleigh County, which encompasses Bismarck. The county has the most active cases with 403. Morton County, which sits just west of Burleigh County and includes Mandan, reported 11 new cases and has 125 active cases.

Forty-six of the new cases reported Wednesday came from Cass County, which includes Fargo. The state's most populous county has 386 active cases. North Dakota State University has reported 132 student and employee cases of COVID-19 in the last two weeks, but university officials recently said turnout for testing on college campuses has been lagging.

The department also announced Wednesday that nearly 350 COVID-19 tests taken at a Fargo testing event last week were not able to be analyzed after being mishandled. The department said it informed those tested as part of the batch and urged them to get retested.

Stark County, which includes Dickinson, reported 21 new cases Wednesday and has 182 active infections. Dickinson State University reports that 25 tied to the university are known to have COVID-19.

Grand Forks County reported just four new cases Wednesday, bringing the county to 332 active cases. Many of the cases from the county reported in the last two weeks are tied to the University of North Dakota, which aims to test all students, faculty and staff as the fall semester begins. The university reports that 93 students, faculty and staff have tested positive and another 342 people linked to the university are in quarantine.

Twenty-five counties reported at least one case Wednesday, including many small, rural counties. All but three of the 53 counties in the state have at least one active case.

About 7.9% of the 3,031 residents tested as part of the latest batch received a positive result, but 12.7% of those tested for the first time got a positive result.

North Dakota does not report a seven-day rolling average for positivity rate as many other states do, but Forum News Service calculated the rate to be 9.7% for tests taken on previously untested residents.

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