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North Dakota reports most active COVID-19 cases in over a year

North Dakota had 6,062 active COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, Jan. 12, the most the state has seen since late November 2020.

A coronavirus graphic. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

BISMARCK — North Dakota has now surpassed more than 6,000 active COVID-19 cases, the most the state has had since its highest case peak back in November 2020.

The North Dakota Department of Health on Wednesday, Jan. 12, reported more than 1,000 additional active cases and 2,400 total positive cases compared to the previous day.

This does not include positive at-home COVID-19 tests.

COVID-19 cases are spiking in North Dakota amid the highly contagious omicron variant, which has caused a jump in cases nationwide. Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 8, the omicron variant accounted for more than 98% of new coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Thursday, Jan. 13, the Department of Health will broadcast a town hall on its social media platforms to provide updates on the omicron variant and how its affecting North Dakota's health care systems.


The following are COVID-19 case rates, deaths and hospitalizations from the North Dakota Department of Health as of Wednesday.

Statewide case rates

  • ACTIVE CASES: 6,062

North Dakota's 14-day rolling positivity rate was 14.23% as of Tuesday — the highest since November 2020.
Cass County, which encompasses Fargo, has the most active cases in the state with 2,052. Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, has 857 active cases, and Grand Forks County has 629 active cases.

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 2,041

The seven additional COVID-19 deaths reported on Wednesday included two residents of Burleigh County and one each from Dunn, Morton, Nelson, Grand Forks and Cass County.
Over 80% of residents who were hospitalized in the state last week were not fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health.

Hospital capacity was statewide was scarce as of Tuesday, according to a statewide database. Bismarck's two hospital's both reported zero staffed ICU and zero staffed in-patient beds. Fargo's three hospitals collectively had zero staffed in-patient beds and only Sanford Health Fargo had staffed ICU beds available.

Four of the 128 residents currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 in North Dakota are under 6 years of age.


  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 479,115 (62.9% of population)
  • FULL VACCINE COVERAGE: 404,618 (53.1% of population)
  • BOOSTER DOSES ADMINISTERED: 164,794 (21.1% of population)

The top two figures are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , while the bottom figure is from the state's vaccine dashboard .

Readers can reach Forum reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at

What to read next
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Another 19 South Dakotans have died with COVID-19, the state Department of Health reported Friday, Jan. 21, raising the state's death toll past 2,600.
For the first time since a November 2020 peak in cases, the number of active infections has surpassed 10,000. Health experts believe the known cases only paint part of the picture since many other residents are infected but haven't been tested at an official site.
In the Northeast, which saw some of the highest case loads during the latest surge, infections are down 36% week-over-week. The drop was more modest at the national level, with the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases falling 1% as of Wednesday, according to the Reuters tally.
"We see through the data that when we have a high vaccination rate in facilities, absolutely we have less infection there," said North Dakota Long Term Care Association President Shelly Peterson. "It really does work. It really does make a difference."