BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Department of Health on Thursday, Sept. 10, reported 337 new cases of COVID-19 and an increase in active cases.

The department also announced the deaths of three residents: two Burleigh County men in their 80s and a Dunn County woman in her 90s. All had underlying health conditions.

There are now 2,353 North Dakotans known to be infected with the illness, with 62 residents hospitalized, of which 21 are in intensive care.

The department says 160 North Dakotans have died from the illness, including 84 residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Stark County, which includes Dickinson, reported the most new cases Thursday with 67 positive cases. The county now has 225 active infections, and Dickinson State University reported 24 active cases on its campus as of Thursday.

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Burleigh County, which encompasses Bismarck, has the state's most active cases with 435 residents currently infected. It reported 62 new cases Thursday. Just west of Burleigh, Morton County reported 34 new cases and has 151 residents known to be infected with the virus.

Since the metropolitan area has become the state's hotspot, the local COVID-19 task force recommended implementing a mask-wearing mandate, but officials say they are not willing to enforce a government order. On Wednesday, Bismarck Public schools announced 29 students and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 and 258 have been quarantined since the start of school.

Cass County, which encompasses Fargo and West Fargo, reported 64 new cases of COVID-19 and has 425 active cases. North Dakota State University in Fargo reported Thursday that 140 students and staff had tested positive and 191 students are in quarantine in university housing.

Twenty-nine of the new cases came from Ward County, which encompasses Minot. The county now has 122 active cases.

About 5.5% of the 6,189 residents tested as part of the latest batch received a positive result, but 10.5% 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 9.8% for tests taken on previously untested residents.

Readers can reach reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at mgriffith@forumcomm.com.

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