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Omicron variant continues to tear through North Dakota as positivity rate sets another record

North Dakota's active COVID-19 cases climbed about 500 over the previous day as testing levels got back on track. Active cases have increased fivefold since the beginning of the month as the extremely contagious omicron variant of the virus sweeps through the state.

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A coronavirus graphic. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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BISMARCK — The following are COVID-19 case rates, deaths and hospitalizations tracked by the North Dakota Department of Health as of Tuesday, Jan. 18. Because all data are preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES REPORTED: 2,943
  • ACTIVE CASES: 7,456
  • DAILY POSITIVITY RATE: 21.9%
  • 14-DAY ROLLING POSITIVITY RATE: 17.5%
  • TOTAL KNOWN CASES THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 199,213
  • TOTAL RECOVERED THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 189,710

North Dakota's active COVID-19 cases climbed about 500 over the previous day as testing levels got back on track. Active cases have increased fivefold since the beginning of the month as the extremely contagious omicron variant of the virus sweeps through the state.
Officials with the state Department of Health recently estimated the omicron strain accounts for at least 90% of the COVID-19 cases in the state. The variant has seemed to cause a milder illness for many people than previous strains, but public health leaders said over the weekend "the sheer number of (virus) patients is flooding hospitals and clinics with sick people."

Cass County, which encompasses Fargo, has the most active cases in the state at 2,243. Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, has 1,140 active cases, while Grand Forks County has 877.

Rolette County leads the state in cases per capita by a wide margin; however, the county that includes the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation has done proportionally more testing than any other county. The number of known cases in a county is heavily dependent on testing levels, though experts believe the virus is spreading widely even in areas with low testing.

The 17.5% rolling positivity rate is the highest of the entire pandemic.

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Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 151
  • DEATHS REPORTED TUESDAY: 1
  • TOTAL DEATHS: 2,047

The Department of Health reported one COVID-19 death on Tuesday.
The state reported 14 available intensive care beds and 196 regular inpatient beds across the state on Monday.

The majority of residents who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the last week were not fully vaccinated.

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 481,180 (61.8% of population)
  • FULL VACCINE COVERAGE: 406,049 (52.1% of population)
  • BOOSTER DOSES ADMINISTERED: 169,678 (21.8% of population)

The top two figures come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , which includes vaccinations performed at federal sites, while the bottom figure comes from the state's vaccine dashboard , which gives a fuller picture of booster and third doses.

Jeremy Turley is a Bismarck-based reporter for Forum News Service, which provides news coverage to publications owned by Forum Communications Company.
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