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North Dakota: Latest updates on Coronavirus

Sunrise over Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Sunrise over Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.
(Image: © Shutterstock)

Last updated March 27 at 6:68 p.m. ET.

North Dakota has had one death attributed to the coronavirus, and has 68 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

On Friday (March 27), state officials confirmed the first death associated with the virus — a Cass county man in his 90s who had underlying health conditions. On the same day, Gov. Burgum ordered the closure of barber shops, tattoo and massage parlor and all nail and hair salons across the state. 

Over 2,600 people have tested negative for the virus, according to the state's health department. At the moment, the state has the second lowest number of U.S. coronavirus cases (South Dakota has the fewest). Sixteen people in the state are hospitalized due to the virus. 

Gov. Doug Burgum declared a state of emergency on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Then, on March 14, he brought together members of the newly formed COVID-19 Unified Command. The committee is being led by Mylynn Tufte, the state health officer, and the North Dakota National Guard adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, The Bismarck Tribune reported. The group has brought in several other members and leaders of the community and state to make plans to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. These stakeholders included: health care workers, business leaders, religious organizations, K-12 educators, tribal partners, among others, the Tribune reported.

On March 16, the governor ordered the closing of all K–12 schools in the state for the week through March 20, he said in a statement, and explained that the situation will be reassessed at that time. 

Tufte, the state health officer, explained why the schools were closing despite only one COVID-19 case in the state. "Closing K-12 education is a proactive and aggressive approach to minimize community spread," Tufte said in the statement. "What we've learned this weekend from our medical advisors is that we need more time to 'flatten the curve' to slow the spread of COVID-19 so we don't overwhelm the health care system.

On March 19, the governor signed an executive order closing all bars, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters to on-site business until April 6. At the same time, he said North Dakota schools would stay closed indefinitely. Each district was tasked with coming up with their own education plan in the meantime. The state department has more information about school closures, including continuing school meals and how to handle special education.

By age group, the number of cases are: ages 0-9 (1 case); 10-19 (1 case); ages 20-29 (12 cases); ages 30-39 (13 cases); ages 40-49 (6 cases); ages 50-59 (11 cases); ages 60-69 (13 cases); and ages 70-79 (7 cases); ages 80 and older (4 cases).

Cases by county:

  • Burleigh: 25
  • Cass: 11
  • Dunn: 1
  • Foster: 1
  • McHenry: 1
  • McIntosh: 1
  • Morton: 11
  • Pierce: 2
  • Ramsey: 3
  • Start: 7
  • Walsh: 1
  • Ward: 4

The state's health department set up a hotline for questions from the public regarding COVID-19. The hotline — 1-866-207-2880 — is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Originally published on Live Science. 

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