BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health on Monday, Feb. 22, reported three COVID-19 deaths but an overall drop in active cases.

The deaths over the weekend came in a Cass County man in his 70s, a Cass County man in his 90s and a Grand Forks County man in his 60s.

North Dakota's active case count has continued on a downward trajectory since mid November when the state's outbreak was the nation's most severe.

The health department reported a decrease of 15 active cases on Monday, bringing the total to 710. COVID-19 hospitalizations sit at 38, a decrease of two from the previous day.

The department says 1,438 North Dakotans have died from the illness since March. At least 877 of the state's deaths have come in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. There are just 10 infected nursing home residents in the state.

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The department reported 35 new cases on Monday, including five cases each from Cass and Burleigh counties.

About 2.1% of the residents tested as part of the latest batch received a positive result, and an average of 2.6% of those tested in the last two weeks got a positive result. Six of Monday's positives came off rapid tests, while the rest came off traditional tests.

The state remains a national leader in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, with more than 111,000 residents, 15% of the population, having received a first dose. More than 60,000 residents are fully vaccinated.

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