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Live Updates: Coronavirus in North Dakota

This page will be updated frequently with news and updates related to COVID-19 in North Dakota. Click through to news stories that provide more detail.

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Eight more dead with COVID-19; 233 new cases

5 minutes ago

The state health department has confirmed eight more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,373.


The patients were:


·         Woman in her 80s from Golden Valley County.  

·         Woman in her 70s from Grand Forks County.  

·         Woman in her 70s from McHenry County.  

·         Man in his 60s from Ramsey County.  

·         Man in his 70s from Ransom County.  

North Dakota’s eight commercial airports saw a 52 percent drop in boardings in 2020, compared with 2019.

The state's Aeronautics Commission said 572,093 people boarded commercial airplanes in 2020. That's a decrease of 619,476 passengers ffrom 2019.

The reason: COVID-19.

North Dakota Aeronautics Commission director Kyle Wanner said it could have been worse.

"We saw a 95%  decrease in passenger numbers back in April," Wanner said. "That's the worst-case scenario."

Wanner said since that time, there has been a recovery.

Eight COVID-19 deaths; 248 new cases detected

Jan 14, 2021

The state health department has confirmed eight more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,365.


The patients were: 


Bill would increase drivers' training to one year

Jan 14, 2021

A bill pending in the North Dakota Legislature would lengthen the amount of driver’s training for teens before they could get a driver’s license.

A Bismarck state senator has introduced a measure to provide some money to families who have out-of-pocket education expenses as a result of schools being locked down and going to distance learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Mike Dwyer’s (R-Bismarck) bill would set aside $12 million from the next round of COVID relief money for those grants.

Dwyer said he got the idea because he has two children who are teachers, and they have children. Dwyer said the school closed, and so did their day care, and the two were expected to work from home.

2020 a 'very good year' for sunflowers

Jan 14, 2021

The executive director of the National Sunflower Association said USDA’s annual production report for sunflowers shows 2020 was a "fantastic year" for the crop.

John Sandbakken said growing conditions were nearly perfect for sunflowers last year.

North Dakota tops the nation in sunflower production.

"North Dakota set a brand-new state record high for oil sunflower production, at 1,880 pounds," Sandbakken said. "That beat the old record by 230 pounds. It was just a fantastic year for sunflower oil."

Ethane power plant proposed for northwest North Dakota

Jan 13, 2021

A project is in the works to use ethane from Bakken wells to generate electricity.

Bakken Midstream Natural Gas has announced a large-scale, baseload power plant will be built near Williston. It will be called the Williston Basin Energy Center.

Natural gas is a byproduct of drilling Bakken oil wells. Ethane is a natural gas liquid.

Bakken Midstream CEO Mike Hopkins said ethane has a high-heat content, and there isn’t much demand for it.

227 new COVID-19 cases, two additional deaths

Jan 13, 2021

The state health department has confirmed two more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,357.


The patients were: 


  • Woman in her 50s from Rolette County.
  • Woman in her 60s from Stutsman County.


Deaths are reported to the state health department by facilities or by official death record, and can take up to ten days to be confirmed. 


A West Fargo lawmaker believes some parts, at least, of the two Interstate highways serving North Dakota should have an 80-mile an hour speed limit.

Rep. Ben Koppelman (R-West Fargo) said in other states with an 80 mph limit, their number of fatalities have actually dropped at a higher rate than North Dakota’s have dropped.

"I believe what we can take away from that is, cars are becoming safer, highways are patrolled better, and people are driving safer," Koppelman said. "That allows us to go up with the speed limit."

A Berthold lawmaker  wants to limit initiated state Constitutional amendments to one subject.

Rep. Clayton Fegley (R-Berthold) said this is in response to an initiated amendment that would have, among other things, established open primaries, ranked-choice voting and a change in redistricting procedures. It was Measure 3 on the November ballot – but was thrown out through court action.

"Each section of Measure 3 should  have been bvoted on individually," Fegley said. "People wouldn't have to pick and choose."


News from NPR

Members of the pro-Trump mob that staged an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week intended "to capture and assassinate elected officials," federal prosecutors say, in a new court filing against Jacob Chansley, also known as the "QAnon Shaman."

Chansley wore horns, face paint and fur as he stood on the Senate dais – where he left a threatening note for Vice President Mike Pence, prosecutors say.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

The Trump administration introduced new addiction treatment guidelines Thursday that give physicians more flexibility to prescribe a drug to patients struggling with opioid addiction.

Civil liberties advocates are warning that the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol could lead to new police and surveillance powers. If history is a guide, they say, those tools could be used against Blacks and other people of color in the justice system, not the white rioters who stormed Congress.

Updated at 9:07 a.m. ET

Restaurants and bars are reeling from persistent spikes of coronavirus cases and related restrictions in their communities, driving retail spending in December down for the third month in a row.

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Main Street

COVID-19's Impact on Urban Hospitals ~~~ Plains Folk Essay ~ Weather Folklore

Thursday, January 14, 2021 - It’s impossible to overstate COVID’s impact on health care workers. Today we visit with Dr. J’Patrick Fahn at CHI St. Alexius in Bismarck about his personal experience working at a hospital during a pandemic. ~~~ Tom Isern shares a Plains Folk essay, On a Quest, where he goes off in search of homesteader W.H. Hamilton. ~~~ For this week’s Main Street Eats, Root Seller Sue is anxious to get back to growing food. She’s taking a look at the weather folklore of our area.

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