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Burgum announces changes to county risk levels; calls for cooperation to slow spread of virus

At his weekly COVID-19 briefing, Governor Doug Burgum said new North Dakota Smart guidelines would go into effect this Friday at 5pm.

This includes some counties changing from one risk level to another.

Some counties have had improving statuses in regard to the coronavirus. Steele County is moving from “low risk” to the “new normal” category, and Logan and Sargent Counties are moving from “moderate risk” to “low risk.” But other counties have begun seeing a surge in COVID-19 infections, resulting in their moves to higher risk levels. Divide and Wells Counties are moving from “new normal” to “low risk,” and Bowman, Foster, LaMoure, McIntosh, Mercer, Nelson, Richland, Towner and Walsh Counties are moving from “low risk” to “moderate risk.” Sixteen counties are also being upgraded from “moderate risk” to “high risk,” including Benson, Bottineau, Burleigh, Cass, Dickey, Dunn, Emmons, Golden Valley, McHenry, McLean, Morton, Mountrail, Sioux, Stark and Williams Counties.

Burgum said the updated guidance for each risk level will be listed on the North Dakota Department of Health website, but will include recommendations for decreased capacities for events and gatherings, as well as restaurants, bars and other food service industries.

Burgum also called upon local leadership and individuals to implement what they know will mitigate the spread of the virus.

"Last spring, we had a tremendous togetherness - and we need to rekindle the 'hearts in the window' spirit that we had then. And it's not something we need to do forever. We need to do it long enough to bend the curve, we need to do it long enough to slow the spread, and we need to do it long enough into 2021 so that the other tools may be at our disposal; including vaccines that can protect the most vulnerable."

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