COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths rise in North Dakota; state insists on booster shots | Health

State health officials reported another surge in hospitalizations from COVID-19 and seven more coronavirus-related deaths on Thanksgiving.

They also urged adults to get booster vaccinations as the holidays begin.

The Ministry of Health virus dashboard on Thursday showed 656 new virus cases and 3,279 active cases, 548 of which were in Burleigh and Morton counties.

The new deaths brought the state’s pandemic toll to 1,874, including 82 so far in November, making it the sixth deadliest pandemic month in North Dakota. The state no longer publicly reports the province, gender and age range of newly confirmed deaths. The total deaths on the dash for Morton County rose one Thursday to 125; Burleigh County’s total remained unchanged at 257.

The number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 rose to 181 — an increase of 21 from two days earlier. Hospital beds have been scarce in recent months, in large part due to the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.

The most recent state data showed that about 8.5% of staffed inpatient beds are available statewide and about 7.5% of intensive care beds are open. CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck had three manned general care beds and two ICU beds; Sanford Health Bismarck had six open hospital beds and no ICU beds.

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During the pandemic, there are 160,550 confirmed COVID-19 cases in North Dakota, with 155,397 recoveries and 6,406 hospitalizations.

The state’s 14-day moving average test positivity rate was 7.36%. The state target of less than 5% has not been met for more than three months.

Vaccine boosters

The Department of Health is encouraging eligible North Dakotans to get a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine as more people gather or travel for the holidays.

“COVID-19 vaccines are an important tool to prevent serious consequences and slow the spread of COVID-19,” said immunization director Molly Howell.

The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guidelines for boosters, eligibility for anyone over the age of 18 who has completed a primary series: two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or one of the one-time Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccines.

Booster shots are recommended for adults who received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago, or who received one dose of the J&J vaccine at least two months ago. People can “mix and match” the vaccines after a primary series. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3p28mc9.

More information

The States vaccine dashboard shows that 57% of eligible adults in North Dakota and 34.7% of adolescents in the 12-18 age group are considered fully vaccinated; 8.3% of children aged 5-11 years received an initial vaccine dose. Shots for that age group are just getting started. People can go to https://www.ndvax.org or call 866-207-2880 to find out where the COVID-19 vaccine is available near them.

The transmission risk of the coronavirus is considered substantial or high in all 53 counties of North Dakota, except Towner, according to the CDC. COVID-19 data tracker website. The CDC recommends people in those risk categories wear masks in indoor public settings.

A list of free COVID-19 tests offered by local public health units can be found at: health.nd.gov/covidtesting. For more detailed information about the coronavirus in North Dakota, visit: www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus. For more information about variants of the coronavirus, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant.html.

Reach Blake Nicholson at 701-250-8266 or [email protected].

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